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Senior US Official Arrives In Israel Amid Swirling Tensions About Iran “Understanding”

PM Netanyahu vows to defend Israel from Iran during a tour of the Israel Aerospace Industries headquarters on Sunday as Assistant US Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf holds meetings with senior Israeli officials about "constraining Iran’s destabilizing behavior.” (Photos: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO; US State Department)

Assistant US Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf arrived in Israel over the weekend and will meet with senior officials in Israel in the coming days amid reports of an imminent US-Iranian “understanding” on the latter’s nuclear program.

According to the State Department, which has repeatedly denied the numerous reports about an impending US-Iran deal, the discussions with Israeli leaders will include “constraining Iran’s destabilizing behavior.”

Last week, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met his US counterpart Lloyd Austin in Brussels, where according to the State Department, the two agreed to cooperate on “addressing the wide range of threats posed by Iran.”

According to a Channel 12 News report, Austin and Gallant reached some understandings about the US-Iran deal during their meeting, including a US promise that Israel will maintain its qualitative military edge in the Middle East.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Brussels on June 15, 2023. (Elad Malcha/Defense Ministry)

However, despite the report and the fact that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told members of the high-level political-security cabinet last week that the US-Iran deal is a “mini-agreement,” that Israel can live with, Netanyahu repeatedly addressed the topic of the Iranian threat on Sunday, both at the weekly Cabinet meeting in the morning and during a  tour of the Israel Aerospace Industries plant later in the day.

The prime minister said after the tour: ” I’m very impressed by the defensive and offensive tools we’re developing here. We’re determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. I believe that our opposition to the return to the original nuclear plan contributed to the US decision not to do so. We also clarified to our US friends that we also won’t be obligated by the ‘more limited agreements.’ In any case, as I’m clarifying to you and to the world, and I’ll clarify again, we will do everything we can to protect ourselves, with our own powers, against any threat.”

Source: (YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

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