Washington (CNN)Vice President Joe Biden took the stage Thursday night at the Washington Institute's 30th Anniversary Gala with a clear message to the crowd: The United States is not going to give in to Iran on the nuclear deal.
Joe Biden pushes Iran deal
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The vice president was both fired up and serious throughout his 20-minute speech, which he began by acknowledging Israel's "reason to be concerned" about nuclear arms falling into the hands of one of the world's most dangerous regimes.
He outlined the "genuine, diplomatic path" that Iran could take towards this solution, saying that by extending a diplomatic hand, the United States has created a positive negotiating environment. The deal a "historic opportunity" for the United States to "block Iran's path to a bomb," he said.
Biden says many have voiced concerns to him that the administration will sign a bad deal, but he argued if the administration thinks Iran doesn't meet its obligations -- including cutting out uranium production, plutonium re-processing and other covert ways to build a bomb -- the U.S. will say, "No deal."
"This deal is not about trust, it's about verification," he said.
Maintaining a balance of power in the region is a chief concern on which Biden assured attendees.
"There is a myth that this deal enables them [Iran] to gain dominance in the Middle East," he said. "Deal or no deal, Iran will not dominate the Middle East. The people of the Middle East don't want to be dominated by anyone."
His biggest applause came from a passionate comment that Israel is not alone, that the United States is always an ally and friend.
He finished the speech defending President Barack Obama against critics.
"Do not underestimate my friend Barack Obama. He has a spine of steel," Biden said, a comment directed at both the Iranians as well as members of Congress who are trying to scuttle the Iran deal.
The vice president hit a lot of the same points last week at the Israel Independence Day celebration.