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Gantz Says Israel Will Work with US on Iran Issues

Gantz Says Israel Will Work with US on Iran Issues

Sunday, 11 April, 2021 - 12:15
Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White, looks on after delivering a statement before his party faction meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel September 19, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Israel’s defense minister pledged on Sunday to cooperate with the US on Iran, voicing hope that Israeli security would be safeguarded under any renewed Iranian nuclear deal that Washington reaches.

“Israel views the US as a full partner across all operational theaters, not the least Iran,” Benny Gantz said after hosting visiting US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

“And we will work closely with our American allies to ensure that any new agreement with Iran will secure the vital interests of the world and the US, prevent a dangerous arms race in our region and protect the State of Israel.”

Austin, making the first visit to Israel by a senior Biden administration official, told his counterpart that Washington views the alliance with Israel as central to regional security, Reuters reported.

Austin’s visit includes talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is worried about the Democratic administration’s desire for a US return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with major powers, which the previous Republican administration quit.

Netanyahu has said Israel will not be bound by a renewed deal, which he describes as a temporary cap on Iranian nuclear capabilities that would pave the way to bomb-production in the longer-run. Tehran says its atomic ambitions are purely peaceful.

Israeli officials have long threatened last-ditch military action against Iran if they deem foreign diplomacy a dead-end.

Israel and Iran have in recent weeks reported sabotage to their ships at sea. Syria has accused Israel of air strikes on its territory. Israel says it is trying to stem a build-up of Iranian forces within next-door Syria.

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