U.S. President Joe Biden's administration hinted Wednesday it could use force if diplomacy fails on Iran's nuclear program, rallying more closely than ever behind warnings by Israel.
As negotiations with Iran remain at a standstill, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held three-way talks with the top diplomats of Israel and the United Arab Emirates, two U.S. allies which established relations last year amid shared concerns about Tehran.
Blinken renewed Biden's offer to re-enter a 2015 nuclear agreement, trashed by former president Donald Trump, in which Iran drastically scaled back nuclear activity in return for unfulfilled promises of sanctions relief.
"We're united in the proposition that Iran cannot be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon," Blinken told a joint news conference in Washington.
"We believe that the diplomatic path is the most effective way to ensure that that doesn't happen," he said.
But he said Iran has already had nine months since Biden's election to demonstrate its commitment.
"With every passing day, and Iran's refusal to engage in good faith, the runway gets get short," Blinken said.
"We are prepared to turn to other options if Iran doesn't change course," he warned.
He did not elaborate but Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, without being contradicted, said of Blinken's comments: "I think everybody understands -- here in Israel and in the Emirates and in Tehran what it is that we mean."
Lapid earlier said that both he and Blinken, as sons of Holocaust survivors, "know there are moments when nations must use force to protect the world from evil."
"If a terror regime is going to acquire a nuclear weapon, we must act. We must make clear the civilized world won't allow it," Lapid said.
"Israel reserves the right to act at any given moment in any way. That is not only our right; it is also our responsibility."