update deskU.S.-Israel Relations

US boosting security cooperation with Israel

The tightening of military coordination comes amid reports of an imminent agreement on Tehran's nuclear program.

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, left, with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Brussels on June 15, 2023. Source: Twitter.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, left, with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Brussels on June 15, 2023. Source: Twitter.

The United States has been stepping up security cooperation with Israel in recent weeks, amid reports of an imminent nuclear agreement between Washington and Tehran, according to Israeli media reports.

A senior Israeli security official told Channel 12 that a “significant” increase in military cooperation is occurring.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin, in Brussels on Thursday, and according to the report, received reassurance from the Pentagon chief that Israel would maintain its qualitative military edge in the region and that it will continue to reserve the right to act against Iran.

The two talked on the sidelines of a NATO defense ministers gathering in the Belgium capital.

“Both leaders agreed to continue working together to address the wide range of threats posed by Iran, including its nuclear program, destabilizing regional activities, and proliferation of uncrewed aerial systems and other lethal assistance throughout the Middle East and to Russia,” the U.S. Department of Defense said in a statement.

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday dismissed reports that a deal with Iran was close.

“With regard to Iran, some of the reports that we’ve seen about an agreement on nuclear matters or, for that matter, on detainees, are simply not accurate and not true,” said the top U.S. diplomat.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Washington and Tehran were close to reaching an informal agreement on the Tehran regime’s nuclear program.

The agreement would reportedly limit Iran’s uranium enrichment to its current production level of 60%. Iran would also put a stop to attacks against American contractors in Syria and Iraq by the regime’s terrorist proxies.

Additionally, Iran would increase its cooperation with international nuclear inspectors and halt ballistic-missile sales to Russia.

In exchange, the United States would agree not to ratchet up economic sanctions, to stop confiscating Iranian oil shipments and not to seek punitive resolutions against Iran at the United Nations or at the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Times also reported that Iran wants the United States to unfreeze billions of dollars in Iranian assets in exchange for the release of three Iranian American prisoners, although noting that Washington had not confirmed that part of the deal yet.

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