| GEO World|
| No change in Iran policy, WH insists|
| Updated at: 0804 PST, Tuesday, July 07, 2009|
WASHINGTON: "There was no intention to change the position, and nothing the vice president said in any way indicates a change in U.S. position," said a White House official of Biden's remarks Sunday.
"What he said and what chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen said taken together reflect our position, Israel is a sovereign nation, Israel is an ally and Israel has a right to defend itself and other countries cannot dictate how it defends itself.
That being said, it would not be helpful if Israel were to act against Iran." Any interpretation that Biden's remarks signaled a change in U.S. policy is "spin," he added.
Biden did, however, strike a different tone when answering a similar question back on April 7. Asked if he were concerned that Netanyahu might strike Iranian nuclear facilities, Biden told media, "I don't believe Prime Minister Netanyahu would do that. I think he would be ill advised to do that."
How to account for the seeming discrepancy? "Any tonal difference is not intentional at all," the White House official said.
Did Biden coordinate with the White House to pressure Iran to respond to the still-outstanding offer of talks with Washington? Again, the answer from the White House was no.
Washington foreign-policy hands, however, were skeptical that the message was not quite deliberate.