JPost Reports: The Iranian nuclear issue featured prominently in the US vice presidential debate Thursday, with Vice President Joe Biden and Republican challenger Paul Ryan trading barbs over the administration’s handling of the threats posed by the Islamic Republic.
Republican Mitt Romney’s climb in polls since US President Barack Obama’s poor showing in their first debate last week has intensified expectations for the vice presidential showdown with less than four weeks before the November 6 election.
“The Administration has been been blocking sanctions for years,” charged Ryan. “When Barack Obama was elected they had enough fissile material to make a nuclear bomb. Now they have enough to make five.”
Ryan added his view that the Iranians were heartened by Obama’s mistreatment of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. “The ayatollahs see the US wanting more space with our ally Israel. They see the US president refuse to meet with Netanyahu. When they see us putting daylight between ourselves and our allies in Israel, that gives them encouragement.”
Biden responded that sanctions imposed by the US and other Western countries have been “the most crippling sanctions in the history of sanctions,” and that Obama’s strategy has led to the international community presenting a united front on Iran.
The current vice president also downplayed forecasts of an imminent Iranian nuclear weapons capability. “The Israeli and United States military intelligence communities are absolutely in the same place in terms of how close the Iranians are to getting a nuclear weapons,” he said. “They are a good ways away.”