לויד אוסטין
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during press conference in Israel
Photo: Motti Kimchi
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin

Austin fails to mention Iran in speech, while Gantz vows to cooperate on nuclear deal

Although U.S. defense secretary during a press conference with his Israeli counterpart says the alliance between the two states is 'enduring and ironclad', he never addressed Iranian threat or U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal

Reuters, Ynet |
Published: 04.11.21 , 14:24
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin completely omitted the Iranian issue during his press conference with Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Israel on Sunday.
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  • Austin arrived in Israel hours earlier for a two-day trip in what looks to be the first visit by a senior representative of the Biden administration, whose stance on Iran has worried Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government.
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    Defense Minister Benny Gantz and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
    (Photo: the Defense Ministry)
    During a joint press conference, Gantz told Austin that Israel views the United States as a "full partner" and will work closely with its ally to ensure any new diplomatic accord with Iran does not compromise regional security.
    "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 United States, prevent a dangerous arms race in our region and protect the State of Israel," Gantz said.
    Austin for his part told his host that Washington views the alliance as "central to regional stability" as well as "enduring and ironclad" but did not address the Iranian threat in his speech.
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    Defense Minister Benny Gantz and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during press conference
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi )
    He said the Biden administration would continue to ensure Israel's "qualitative military edge" in the Middle East as part of a "strong commitment to Israel and the Israeli people".
    He added that U.S.-Israel relations is build on trust and he looks forward to building up that trust.
    Austin, a retired general, headed U.S. Central Command, which operates in the Middle East, during some of Gantz's tenure as IDF chief of staff. The two spoke shortly after Austin assumed office in January.
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    U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin during press conference in Israel
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi )
    Washington has sought to reassure Israel on regional security issues while restarting talks - so far indirect and inconclusive - about a U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran that the previous Trump administration quit.
    Israel has long been critical of the deal that it sees as putting a temporary cap on Iranian nuclear capabilities that would pave the way to Tehran producing bombs in the long run.
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned last week that Israel would not be bound by the revived deal. Austin is set to meet Netanyahu later to discuss a variety of issues, including U.S. arms supplies to Israel.
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    שר ההגנה האמריקאי מגיע לקריה
    שר ההגנה האמריקאי מגיע לקריה
    The welcome ceremony for U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Defense Ministry HQ in Tel Aviv on Sunday
    (Photo: GPO)
    On Sunday, Iran's Press TV said an electricity problem had caused an incident at the Natanz underground uranium enrichment site, without casualties or pollution. Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
    Israel, which lists cyber-sabotage in its arsenal, had no immediate comment on the Natanz incident but some Israeli media outlets said the incident was a result of a cyber-attack.

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