US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived in Israel on Sunday to hold talks on Iran’s nuclear program. This is the first visit to the country by a senior US official from the Joe Biden administration.
The Biden administration tried to return to the international nuclear agreement between the major powers and Iran for a two-day visit.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement in 2018, and Israel opposed the agreement from the beginning.
Austin was welcomed by Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz. During his visit, he will talk with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and visit Nevati in the south of the country. Mu Air Base, Yad Vashem Memorial Center dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust and an altar for the fallen soldiers.
The head of the Pentagon’s visit and negotiations in Vienna with Iran and other countries that signed the 2015 agreement (Vienna, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany) are taking place at the same time as negotiations in Vienna to enable the United States to return to that treaty.
After the United States withdrew from the agreement and imposed new sanctions on the Tehran regime, Iran has been systematically violating the agreement since 2019. In recent months, Iran has accelerated the uranium enrichment process by introducing advanced centrifuges.
Biden expressed willingness to resume negotiations and lift sanctions after the negotiations, but Tehran insisted on first lifting all sanctions since 2018, and Iran also refused to negotiate directly with the United States at this stage.
Israel firmly opposes any agreement with Iran that allows it to develop nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu said: “The agreement reached with Iran to pave the way for nuclear weapons does not have any binding force on us.”
Israel accuses the Islamic Republic of trying to develop nuclear weapons, which Tehran denies.
Austin will continue touring Germany, England and Belgium.