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Defense secretary boasts 'ironclad' commitment to Israel during trip to Tel Aviv

Defense secretary boasts 'ironclad' commitment to Israel during trip to Tel Aviv
© Greg Nash

Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinWill deterrence work, when our foes wage war disguised as peace? Overnight Defense: Former Navy secretary reportedly spent .4M on travel | Ex-Pentagon chief Miller to testify on Jan. 6 Capitol attack | Austin to deliver West Point commencement speech White House posts visitor logs for first time since Obama MORE declared the U.S.’s “enduring and ironclad” commitment to Israel on Sunday.

The Associated Press reports that Austin made the remarks after meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv, the first visit to Israel by a member of President BidenJoe BidenDefense lawyers for alleged Capitol rioters to get tours of U.S. Capitol Sasse to introduce legislation giving new hires signing bonuses after negative jobs report Three questions about Biden's conservation goals MORE’s cabinet.

“Our commitment to Israel is enduring and ironclad,” Austin said following his meeting with Gantz.

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The comments come as tensions in Israel have been high over its desire to limit Iran’s military influence while the U.S. is exploring negotiations to rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The AP notes that Austin made no mention of Iran during his visit in Israel.

Gantz said Israel considers the U.S. a “full partner” against threats, “not the least, Iran.”

“The Tehran of today presents a strategic threat to international security, the entire Middle East and to the state of Israel,” Gantz said in a statement. “We will work closely with our American allies to ensure that any new agreement with Iran will secure the vital interests of the world and of the United States, prevent a dangerous arms race in our region and protect the state of Israel.”

The AP notes that the Israeli government views a nuclear agreement with Iran as inherently flawed. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuBenjamin (Bibi) NetanyahuMORE referring to Iran as an existential threat to Israel over its pursuit of a nuclear program.

Austin's visit to Israel is part of a multi-stop tour of U.S. allies “to discuss the importance of international defense relationships, and reinforce the United States’ commitment to deterrence and defense, burden sharing, and enduring trans-Atlantic security." He will also travel to Germany, the United Kingdom and NATO headquarters in Belgium.