AMMAN, Jordan (AP) â€” In high-stakes talks aimed at calming U.S. allies' fears approximately the Iran nuclear deal, Defense Secretary Ash Carter appeared to alter no minds among Israeli leaders fiercely opposed to the deal.
They called it a offensive deal. He called it a satisfactory deal. And they all just called it a day.
Carter on Tuesday did avoid a public tongue-lashing by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli leader has called the Iran deal a monumental mistake & asserted that it severely weakens Israel's security, strengthens Iran & contradicts President Barack Obama's stated goal of preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
p>Carter & Netanyahu met Tuesday in the prime minister's office in Jerusalem. Neither commented on Iran in a brief appearance before news cameras & reporters. They shook hands & Netanyahu quickly steered Carter upstairs, to Carter's apparent surprise that Netanyahu was bypassing a chance to publicly attack the deal.
Later, during remarks to U.S., French, Belgian, British, Jordanian & other international troops at an air base in Jordan, Carter mentioned that Netanyahu had been blunt behind closed doors.
"The prime minister made it quite clear that he disagreed with us with respect to the nuclear deal in Iran," Carter said. "But friends can disagree."
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, lower left, climbs talks with Chief Master Sgt. Rob Haslocker, lo …
Carter has said his aim is to keep the U.S.-Israeli military relationship on track & to promise that the U.S. will offer more cooperation on joint defense projects like missile defense.
A Carter aide who attended the talks in Jerusalem after told reporters that Netanyahu bluntly expressed his opposition to the Iran deal yet did not obtain angry or upset with Carter. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss specifics of a closed meeting.
Netanyahu made the same arguments against the deal that he has expressed publicly numerous times since the agreement was announced earlier this month, the aide said, including his view that Iran will use money freed up by the removal of international economic sanctions to accelerate its support for proxies like the Lebanese Hezbollah that threaten Israel.
Carter countered with the U.S. view that Iran is likely to be compelled to use much of its windfall to fix a badly damaged economy.
The U.S. official said neither Carter nor Netanyahu raised the issue of potential U.S. compensation to Israel in the form of increased defense assistance to counter Iran-related threats.
Carter flew to Israel on Sunday to commence a week-long tour of the Middle East focused on reassuring allies approximately Iran & assessing progress in the coalition air campaign against the Islamic State in Syria & Iraq. He was the first Cabinet-level U.S. official to meet with Netanyahu since the signing of the Iran deal.
Carter was flying to Jedda, Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to consult with Saudi leaders, who are moreover unsettled by an Iran accord they see as likely to increase Iranian power & influence in the Persian Gulf & beyond.
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Source: “Associated Press”