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Benny Gantz speaks with US defense secretary on Iran

i24NEWS

clock 3 min read

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz during a ceremony at Kirya military base in Tel Aviv on April 11, 2021.
Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz during a ceremony at Kirya military base in Tel Aviv on April 11, 2021.

A meeting is scheduled soon between the two men on the Iranian nuclear issue

Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Twitter Tuesday that he spoke with his US counterpart Lloyd Austin about Iran's nuclear program.

Gantz announced an upcoming meeting between the two men in order "to deepen their discussion on strategic questions and military cooperation."

While Iran recently announced its willingness to resume talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear accord, tension remains with Israel and the United States. 

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that while diplomacy is the preferred route for the US, every option is on the table to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capabilities. When asked if that included military invention, the top US diplomat did not rule it out.

The tension is even more palpable with Israel, which has released a budget of around $1.5 billion (5 billion shekels) for possible strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities.

The funds — nearly $1 billion in this year's budget and over half a billion in next year's budget — will go towards aircraft, intelligence gathering, and dedicated armaments that can enable the attack.

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Iran's top negotiator said in Brussels last week that negotiations in Vienna would resume at the end of November and on Friday a European Union spokesperson said that the parties are trying to agree on a date for the resumption of talks.

Blinken said that Iran "is moving forward aggressively with its program," warning that the time is "getting shorter" before the Iranians are able to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon.

"The other thing that's getting shorter is the runway we have, where, if we do get back into compliance with the agreement, and Iran gets back into compliance, we actually recapture all of the benefits of the agreement," Blinken said, adding that "we'll see if Iran is serious" about moving forward with a diplomatic solution.