The plane of U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrives in Israel

Austin in first Israel visit by top Biden official, Iran on agenda

Defense secretary due to meet with Netanyahu, Gantz on two-day visit, which officials say will also include discussions of U.S. arms supplies; Washington seeking to reassure Jerusalem over potential return to 2015 nuclear deal

Reuters |
Published: 04.11.21 , 10:35
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived in Israel on Sunday on 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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  • Austin was due to meet Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz during the two-day visit, which officials said would include discussions of U.S. arms supplies to Israel.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    שר ההגנה האמריקאי נוחת בישראל
    שר ההגנה האמריקאי נוחת בישראל
    The plane of U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrives in Israel
    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.
    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.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    שר ההגנה האמריקאי מגיע לקריה
    שר ההגנה האמריקאי מגיע לקריה
    L-R: U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi at the welcome ceremony for the American official at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv on Sunday
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    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 .
    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.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    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.

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