After Israel talks, Pentagon chief says: ‘Friends can disagree’
Carter also traveled to the northern border with Lebanon on Monday and promised to help counter Iranian proxies like Hezbollah
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter never expected to win over Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the merits of the nuclear agreement with Iran but tried to put a brave face on their sometimes blunt, closed-door exchange on Tuesday.
“We don't agree on everything. And the prime minister made it quite clear that he disagreed with us on with respect to the nuclear deal,” Carter said at an airbase in Jordan.
“But friends can disagree.”
Since arriving in Israel on Sunday, Carter has sought to look beyond the political tensions between Israel and the United States that have only deepened since last week’s announcement of a deal curbing Iran's nuclear program.
Carter, the first U.S. cabinet secretary to visit Israel since the deal, traveled to the northern border with Lebanon on Monday and promised to help counter Iranian proxies like Hezbollah.
Israel fears Iran-backed groups like Hezbollah will benefit from Iranian sanctions relief.
Netanyahu looked stern as he received Carter in Jerusalem and the two did not deliver expected public remarks to gathered reporters. Once behind closed doors, the prime minister, without referring to notes, detailed his objections.
“The Secretary did of course respond to those (objections) ... we just agreed to disagree on certain issues,” a senior U.S. defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe the talks.
The official described Netanyahu as “blunt” and “passionate,” offering the same kinds of arguments privately that he has made at length in public. In his latest U.S. media offensive, Netanyahu has urged lawmakers to hold out for a better deal.
The U.S. Congress has 60 days from Monday to decide whether to approve or reject the deal. Republicans who control Congress have lined up in opposition, but Obama says he will veto any attempt to block it.
Israel has a strong army, is believed to have the region’s only nuclear arsenal, and receives about $3 billion a year in military-related support from the United States.
That amount is expected to increase following the Iran deal, but the U.S. official said that issue did not come up.
“There was no discussion of money at all,” the official said.
Carter visited Jordan on Tuesday and will travel next to Saudi Arabia, which is engaged in a contest for power with Iran stretching across the region. Like Israel, Saudi Arabia fears the deal will bolster Iran's allies.
Israel troops shoot dead Palestinian in West BankMohammed Alawneh was killed in clashes that followed an Israeli arrest raid Middle East
Two men arrested in Israel on U.S. charges in stock spam scamThe men had manipulated trading in U.S. securities from overseas, using fake identities to funnel millions of dollars World News
Anti-Hamas Gaza militants threaten rocket fire on Israelhe threat came in reaction to the arrest of militants suspected of targeting members of Hamas’s armed wing Sunday Middle East
Full transcript of Al Arabiya interview with Secretary of State John KerryHere is the full transcript of Al Arabiya News Channel’s Nadia Bilbassy-Charters interview with Secretary of State John Kerry Inside the Newsroom
Watch full Al Arabiya interview with U.S. Secretary of State John KerryU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday said recent anti-U.S. remarks from Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were ... Reports
Exclusive: Kerry slams ‘disturbing’ Khamenei speechIn an Al Arabiya News Channel interview, Kerry discusses Iran's anti-U.S. rhetoric and Iranian activities in the Middle East Middle East
Ben Rhodes: Iran’s new money post deal will go to uplift ‘terrible economy’The U.S. deputy national security advisor, however, did not rule out that the new money will not be used to help proxies involved in the regional conflicts Middle East
U.S. to defend GCC against any Iranian threatOne of the U.S.’s core interests in the region is the security of its allies in the region, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said Middle East