Monday, February 6th | 15 Shevat 5783

May 19, 2022 8:47 am

Gantz Tells US Counterpart: ‘We Must Act Decisively Against Iran’s Mounting Regional Aggression’

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avatar by Sharon Wrobel

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Photo:
Shmulik Almany / Israeli Ministry of Defense

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with his US counterpart, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, in the Pentagon on Thursday to stress the “critical need” for cooperation between the US and regional partners in confronting threats posed by Tehran.

“We must act decisively against Iran’s mounting regional aggression in a variety of ways — this includes strengthening a practical coalition under US leadership together with regional partners,” Gantz urged, according to a readout issued by the Israeli Defense Ministry.

Discussing security challenges, the defense minister focused on the Iranian nuclear threat and its activities in the Middle East, emphasizing “the historic changes in the region alongside the mounting threat posed by Iran’s aggression and support for terrorism.”

Gantz thanked Austin for his commitment to Israel’s security and the ongoing cooperation between the two defense establishments. The Israeli official expressed his gratitude for the recent approval by the US Senate of $4.8 billion in military aid for Israel, and underlined the importance of Washington’s continued commitment to Israel’s qualitative military edge.

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Gantz briefed Austin on the recent tensions in Israel, citing the recent deadly terror wave that has claimed the lives of 20 people, and Israel’s continuing counterterrorism operations.

Israel’s defense minister also reiterated Israel’s support for Ukraine amid Russia’s ongoing invasion, including the provision of humanitarian aid and non-offensive equipment, and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s commitment to mediate between Kyiv and Moscow.

“These actions are taken while maintaining a policy in line with operational considerations, while ensuring regional stability,” Gantz noted.

The meeting was attended by Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Herzog, Director of the Defense Ministry’s Policy and Political-Military Bureau Dror Shalom, and Military Secretary Yaki Dolf.

Gantz kicked off his official visit to the US on Wednesday night, meeting with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in the White House. The conversation focused on the progression of Iran’s nuclear program, as talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal remain stalled. The Israeli minister called for the “need to work closely and prepare for any future scenario.”

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