Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu met with the U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on Tuesday behind closed doors in Israel to discuss the nuclear agreement with Iran.
The animosity between the United States and Israel has reached new depth after the conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal between the United States, the European Union, the United Nations, Great Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia the previous week in Vienna. The deal curbs Iran’s nuclear program and imposes its dismantling, as well as inspections to Iranian military and non-military sites in exchange for sanction lifting that has been imposed by the UN for many years. Due to that fact Israel is worried that Iranian militant groups like Hezbollah and Hamas would be able to use the Iranian sanctions relief.
The Pentagon Chief, Ash Carter was received by PM Netanyahu in Jerusalem and they talked about the dispute behind closed doors. After the discussion ended they did not give any details to the media of what was discussed, but sources of Reuters say that Netanyahu was very “passionate” and “blunt” in respect to the deal and the U.S. Defense Secretary responded proportionately to Israeli objections.
According to Reuters, a senior U.S. official said “The Secretary did of course respond to those objections… we just agreed to disagree on certain issues.”
Ashton Carter himself, while being at an airbase in Jordan stated “We don’t agree on everything. And the Prime Minister made it quite clear that he disagreed with us on with respect to the nuclear deal.” He also added “But friends can disagree.”
In respect to the Iran deal, Netanyahu has called on U.S. Congress to put a stop of the Iran deal. The Congress is due to make a decision in 60 days from the date of the deal. The deal has strong support among Democrats, but is opposed by the Republican Party that is controlling Congress. However, if any block of the deal is to come in Congress, President Obama has promised to veto it.
According to Reuters, the U.S. official said nothing was discussed in respect to defense finance, however it is expected that Israel will receive an additional financial help to the already $3 billion a year in military support they get from the United States. They also have a very capable army with the only nuclear arsenal in the region.
Ashton Carter is the first cabinet secretary to visit Israel and the region ever since the conclusion of the Iran deal and vowed to help Israel to oppose Iranian extremists such as the Hezbollah and Hamas. He is set to visit Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally that also has a fear of Iran developing nuclear weapons and helping extremists bring war to the region. His tour of the region is to calm the tensions arising in the Middle Eastern countries ever since the Iran deal, which is called a historic achievement by all world powers.