Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel pledged to Israeli leaders Friday that the U.S. "will do what we must" to prevent the Jewish state's greatest fear of a nuclear-armed Iran.
Hagel made the public pledge in a statement at talks in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"I want to assure you of the United States' commitment to ensuring Iran does not get a nuclear weapon — and that America will do what we must to live up to that commitment," Hagel said.
Both men spoke of the disputed Iranian nuclear program, which is the topic of negotiations this week in Vienna between Western powers and Iran.
"We've been saying all along that Iran is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the international community," Netanyahu said in a statement while standing beside Hagel.
He cited a United Nations report on what he called "Iran's ongoing effort to deceive the international community to continue to develop ICBMs and to continue to violate its commitments of security council stipulations on forbidding it to develop certain parts of its nuclear program."
"They continue to do that and I think that requires a very clear and firm policy on the part of world powers," Netanyahu said.
The Israeli leader said, "we must not let the ayatollahs win, we mustn't let the foremost terrorist state of our time, Iran, develop the capability to produce nuclear weapons."
© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.