U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has assured a pro-Israel lobbying group that Iran is not close to developing a nuclear weapon.
Speaking Sunday in Washington at a meeting of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, Biden said "Iran is much, much further away from obtaining a nuclear weapon than they were a year ago."
The vice president told the activists the U.S. is "watching Iran like a hawk."
Biden also urged Israel to negotiate a two-state solution to the Middle East region's ills. "The only way in my view to guarantee Israel's future and security of its identity as a Jewish and democratic state is with a two-state solution," he said.
Palestinians have grown frustrated with the growth of Jewish settlements on land Palestinians want for a future state.
Vice President Biden also spoke indirectly about the U.S. presidential race. He said, "As the Jewish people know better than any other people, any action that marginalizes one religious or ethnic group imperils us all... It is incumbent on all of us to stand up against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes, who seek to scare and divide us for political gain, because the future belongs to the bridge builders, not the wall builders."
Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has said if he is elected he would build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep Mexicans out of the U.S., calling Mexicans rapists and criminals.