US aims to shift Israel focus to security ties after Iran deal

July 19, 2015 23:12

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said it plainly just before landing in Israel, where officials are fuming over the Iran nuclear deal: "I'm not going to change anybody's mind in Israel. That's not the purpose of my trip."

Carter, making the first visit by a US cabinet official to Israel since last week's landmark agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program, aims instead to move away from political tensions over the accord to more cool-headed, nuts-and-bolts discussions on deepening security ties.

Increased US military-related support is expected to be on the table. But Israeli and US officials have played down the prospects of any looming announcements.

"Friends can disagree but we have decades of rock-solid cooperation with Israel," Carter told reporters traveling with him.

Carter's mission will not be an easy one.

The United States and Israel fundamentally differ on whether the Iran nuclear deal makes both countries safer. President Barack Obama says it does; Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it does not.

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