Netanyahu warns US Defense Secretary on Iranian nuclear weapons

In apparent message to Washington, Netanyahu tells visiting Defense Secretary that Israel will stop Iran before it can “carry out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel.”

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

With tensions rising in the Middle East over alleged Israeli attacks on Iranian targets, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that Israel would not allow Iran to achieve its goal of producing nuclear weapons.

“In the Middle East, there is no threat that is more serious, more dangerous, more pressing than that posed by the fanatical regime in Iran,” Netanyahu said at a press conference after holding talks with Austin, who arrived in Israel Sunday. “Iran continues to support terrorists around the world in five continents, threatening civilians everywhere.”

With the Biden Administration pursuing a return to the Iran nuclear deal abandoned three years ago by former President Donald Trump, Netanyahu made it clear to Washington that Israel would not stand idly by if Iran was allowed to continue its nuclear program.

“Iran has never given up its quest for nuclear weapons, and the missiles to deliver them and Iran consistently, consistently and outrageously calls for Israel’s annihilation and works towards that goal,” Netanyahu said.

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“Mr. Secretary, we both know the horrors of war. We both understand the importance of preventing war,” said Netanyahu, himself a wounded combat officer who served in Israel’s top commando unit during his military service. “And we both agree that Iran must never possess nuclear weapons.”

“My policy as Prime Minister of Israel is clear. I will never allow Iran to obtain the nuclear capability to carry out its genocidal goal of eliminating Israel,” Netanyahu said.

For his part, Austin did not mention Iran by name, only saying he came “to discuss a number of security issues that are important to our two countries,” while emphasizing the close strategic ties between the two countries.

“I wanted to reaffirm the administration’s strong commitment to Israel and to the Israeli people,” Austin said, adding his purpose was “close consultations with Israel as we address shared challenges in the region.”

“The close and strong ties that we enjoy with Israel are central to regional stability and security in the Middle East,” Austin noted. “And so we discussed ways to deepen and expand our longstanding defense relationship in the face of regional threats and other security challenges. And I affirmed the department’s support for our ongoing diplomatic efforts to normalize relations between Israel and Arab and Muslim-majority nations.”

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With Iran threatening to avenge an alleged attack by Israel on Saturday at one of its nuclear sites, Austin said he and Netanyahu discussed “shared defense priorities” and how to “maintain close cooperation between the United States and Israel.”

“I am confident that together we can chart a path toward enduring peace in this region, and advance an open and stable order now and in the years ahead,” Austin said.