Pentagon chief reassures Israel over Iran nuke issue
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has reassured his visiting Israeli counterpart that the United States will remain "clear-eyed" over the development of the Iran nuclear issue, said the Pentagon officials Wednesday.
Defense Department officials said Hagel and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon met at the Pentagon Tuesday, sharing their views on the latest development regarding the Iran nuclear issue and the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria, the American Forces Press Service, the U.S. Defense Department's news service, reported.
Hagel told Yaalon that while U.S. officials intend to test the prospect for a diplomatic solution with Iran, they "remain clear- eyed about the challenges ahead and will not waver from a firm policy of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons."
This was the third face-to-face meeting between the two defense officials in the past six months. The meeting came amid Israel's rising concerns over Washington's recent diplomatic engagement with Tehran on its disputed nuclear program.
The newly-elected Iranian government and the Obama administration have sent out each other olive branches last month before and through the UN General Assembly session. The presidents of the U.S. and Iran directed their diplomatic teams to engage with each other over the stalled negotiations on Iran's nuclear program.
In his visit to the United States, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged U.S. President Barack Obama to keep economic sanctions on Iran in place during their meeting at the White House last week.