Israeli Prime Minister Naphtali Bennett held talks with US officials in Washington on Wednesday, his first foreign visit since taking office, and the Iranian nuclear file remains at the top of its agenda.
For his part, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin reaffirmed US commitment to Israel’s security and its “standard military margin.”
The Pentagon said in a statement that Secretary-General Austin had received the Israeli Prime Minister and discussed with him “the threats posed by Iran’s nuclear program” and “its support for terrorism” and “naval aggression.”
The report said both sides agreed to cooperate in dealing with air and missile defense and unmanned aerial vehicles. Austin stressed the United States’ commitment to achieving broader stability in the Middle East.
In the same context, US Secretary of State Anthony Blingen reaffirmed his country’s commitment to Israel’s security.
During a meeting with Bennett in Washington, State Department spokesman Blingen stressed that “Israelis and Palestinians must enjoy freedom, prosperity and prosperity” to enhance the prospects for a two-state solution.
US President Joe Biden is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Naphtali Bennett at the White House on Thursday for their first direct talks.
Diplomacy with Iran
A senior US official told reporters: Biden told Bennett that Washington shares Israeli concerns about Iran accelerating its nuclear program, but will remain firm on the diplomatic path with Tehran for now.
The official added that since the previous administration’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal, “the Iranian nuclear program is out of control and accelerating on a weekly basis.”
He noted that Iran’s centrifuges, uranium reserves and the technologies it has developed have “only a few months” of nuclear production capabilities, and Biden and Bennett discussed “what to do about it.”
The official said the US administration was concerned about Iran’s nuclear activities, but pointed out that Biden would strictly reject any of Bennett’s plans to halt efforts to renew the nuclear deal.
He added, “Of course we are firmly on the diplomatic path … We believe that this is the best way to thwart and end Iran’s progress over the years on the nuclear front.”
“If that doesn’t work, there are other avenues,” he said without elaborating.
For his part, Bennett announced his meeting with the US president in advance, saying he could not see a return to a nuclear deal with Iran as a good solution. He also proposed the formation of a regional alliance between Israel and the Arab states to counter Iran’s activities.
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