US Defense Secretary avoids public mention of Iran during Israel visit

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the highest-ranking Biden administration official to visit Israel, on Monday affirmed US support for Israel’s security and qualitative military edge. Standing alongside PM Binyamin Netanyahu, he said they had discussed “ways to deepen our longstanding defense relationship in the face of regional threats and security challenges in the region. And I affirm the department’s support for our ongoing diplomatic efforts to normalize relations between Israel and Arab and Muslim-majority nations,” Secretary Austin stressed.

He added his confidence that “together we can chart a path toward enduring peace in this region and advance open and stable order — now, and in the years ahead.”

In his two days in Israel, the defense secretary mostly avoided naming Iran in his comments – only unnamed “regional threats.” Netanyahu rectified his omission by stating: “We both understand the importance of preventing war. And we both agree that Iran must never possess nuclear weapons. My policy as prime minister of Israel is clear — I will never allow Iran to obtain the nuclear capability to carry out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel.”

 

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