The London-based Al Hayah newspaper reported from Jerusalem on April 22 that during his first statement upon arrival in Israel, US Defence Minister, Chuck Hagel, announced that his country’s arms deal with Israel was a “very clear signal” to Tehran that the military option is still open and has not been ruled out of discussions over preventing Iran from nuclear armament.
“The military option is one option that remains on the table; must remain on the table,” Hegel said.
The Asharq al Awsat newspaper reported from Tel Aviv that the American Defence Minister said: “Iran presents a threat in its nuclear program and Israel will make the decisions that Israel must make to protect and defend itself.”
Hegel also told reporters on board his plane that Israel and the US agree about the danger of Iran’s nuclear armaments; however they disagree on the amount of time Iran requires to develop nuclear expertise and when a military strike should be launched.
This major arms deal includes the sale of aerial refuelling tankers, anti-air defence missiles and tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey troop transport planes to Israel which will consolidate Israel’s “qualitative military edge” over other countries in the region.
Senior Israeli officials will also discuss with Hegel the renewal of the military cooperation agreement according to which the US supports Israel to the tune of $3 billion annually. The agreement is set to expire in 2017 and Israel is seeking to renew it for another 10 years.