Tags: netanyahu | carter | iran | nuclear | deal
Image: No Room for Pleasantries as Netanyahu Sees Carter on Iran Deal

No Room for Pleasantries as Netanyahu Sees Carter on Iran Deal

Tuesday, 21 Jul 2015 06:46 PM

No public pleasantries were exchanged when U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter showed up at the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to talk about the Iran nuclear deal and strained U.S.-Israeli ties.

Tentative plans to issue joint statements were abandoned. Microphones set up for the occasion went unused. A news conference was out of the question.

“If you gentlemen want, we can come back,” Netanyahu told reporters as he ushered Carter up the stairs to his private office in Jerusalem on Tuesday. But the press was quickly escorted out of the building once the meeting began.

The visit only underscored the tension in U.S.-Israeli relations over the deal -- vigorously opposed by Netanyahu as inadequate even before it was completed -- that’s intended to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions.

The prime minister used the meeting as an opportunity to express his outrage directly to the first senior U.S. official to visit Israel since the accord was reached by Iran and six world powers in Vienna last week, according to a U.S. defense official who attended the session.

Netanyahu spoke passionately about his objections to the accord, the official told reporters later, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private talks.

Carter confined his account of the meeting to brief remarks hours later, after he traveled to Jordan and visited with multinational troops at a Jordanian air base whose precise location reporters were told they couldn’t disclose for security reasons.

‘Good Discussions’

“I had very good discussions with the prime minister, Netanyahu, this morning,” Carter told about 200 troops gathered in a tent on a patch of hot desert.

“We don’t agree on everything, and the prime minister made it quite clear that he disagreed with us with respect to the nuclear deal in Iran,” he said. “But friends can disagree.”

Carter said the U.S. and Israel have an “extremely strong partnership and a common commitment to countering Iranian malign influence in this region.”

The private session with Netanyahu, which lasted a little more than an hour, focused on the Iran deal and ways to improve military cooperation between the U.S. and Israel, the U.S. defense official said.

Netanyahu has heaped scorn on U.S. efforts to reassure Israel on the Iran deal by dangling promises of more weapons or aid.

“If this deal is supposed to make Israel and our Arab neighbors safer, why should we be compensated with anything?” he said Sunday in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” program.

Sharing Intelligence

Neither side made any mention of money for Israel in the meeting Tuesday, the U.S. official said. Nor did the men discuss the possibility of revising the memorandum of understanding under which the U.S. provides Israel with about $3 billion a year in aid, the official said.

Netanyahu didn’t give any hint that he was considering military action in Iran, the official said.

Instead, the two men discussed how to improve the sharing of military intelligence and Israeli missile defenses, along with strategies for countering Iranian aggression in the region and the conflict in Syria, the official said.

Despite the tension, Carter was hardly treated as a pariah on his first visit to Israel as secretary of defense. The Pentagon chief was greeted at the Israeli Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on Monday by an honor cordon and a military band. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called Carter “someone who makes Israel’s security a top priority.”

In Jordan, Carter emphasized the importance of allies in defeating Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria. He met with U.S. air crews and the squadron of a captured Jordanian pilot who was burned alive by Islamic State after his plane crashed in Syria.

“Thank you for your partnership,” Carter said of the troops’ Jordanian hosts. “We don’t take it for granted.”


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No public pleasantries were exchanged when U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter showed up at the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to talk about the Iran nuclear deal and strained U.S.-Israeli ties.Tentative plans to issue joint statements were abandoned....
netanyahu, carter, iran, nuclear, deal
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2015-46-21
Tuesday, 21 Jul 2015 06:46 PM
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