Gantz discusses US-Israel cooperation against Iran with CENTCOM commander

The defense minister is set to meet with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan to discuss the efforts to return to the JCPOA deal.

CENTCOM General Michael Kurilla and Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz. (photo credit: John Onuoha/CENTCOM)
CENTCOM General Michael Kurilla and Israel Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
(photo credit: John Onuoha/CENTCOM)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz discussed cooperation between Israel and the United States with US Central Command (CENTCOM) commander General Michael Kurilla during a meeting at CENTCOM headquarters in Florida on Thursday.

"I am completing a successful visit to CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa," tweeted Gantz. "During the visit we held significant discussions on strengthening the security cooperation between Israel, the US and the countries of the region in the face of Iranian aggression. From here I am flying to Washington where I will meet with National Security Adviser [Jake] Sullivan. I will discuss with him ways to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons."

The meeting comes as part of a planned visit by Gantz to the US and Japan. The defense minister will meet with Sullivan on Friday and will depart from the US to Japan for an official visit on Saturday night. Sullivan met with Israeli National Security Advisor Eyal Hulata at the White House on Tuesday.

The visit comes as the US, Iran and European Union continue efforts to return to the JCPOA nuclear deal, with the US presenting its response to Iran's latest demands on Wednesday. Iran's Foreign Ministry confirmed that it had received the response and was reviewing it.

Gantz says he's bringing "clear message" to US concerning nuclear deal

On Wednesday, Gantz stated that he was carrying a "clear message" during his visit to the US that "an agreement that will not set Iran's capabilities back years, and will keep it restricted for many years to come - is an agreement that will harm global and regional security."

 Defense Minister Benny Gantz meets with CENTCOM commander General Michael Kurilla during a meeting at CENTCOM headquarters in Florida, August 26, 2022 (credit: John Onuoha/CENTCOM) Defense Minister Benny Gantz meets with CENTCOM commander General Michael Kurilla during a meeting at CENTCOM headquarters in Florida, August 26, 2022 (credit: John Onuoha/CENTCOM)

"Iran's nuclear rush must be significantly scaled back," said Gantz. "The financing of its affiliates in the region should be disconnected from the Iranian Rial pipeline. We will discuss the issue with the Americans, and at the same time, Israel will continue to build its strength and capabilities - so that in any situation, it will know how to defend itself."

"Israel's cooperation with CENTCOM and the countries in the area is a game changer in the ability to maintain security, stability and peace in the Middle East especially in the face of Iran and its affiliates," said Gantz as he prepared to head to Washington DC. "We will continue to deepen the cooperation, expand the necessary activity to harm Iran's affiliates and make sure Iran never has nuclear weapons. 

"We all understand the need to make sure Iran never has a nuclear umbrella under which it can spread terror and threaten the world and the Middle East. This is also the message I will give in Washington in my meeting with National Security Advisor Jack Sullivan."