Despite assurances by the Obama administration that it would protect the security of its Middle Eastern allies in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal, US military officials said that it won’t come in the form of a military handout.
The US is rumored to have extended further military aid to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Gulf nations – countries who oppose the nuclear deal – following last week’s announcement. However, according to a report in Defense News, the US will not be offering offensive military weaponry as form of protection against the possible threat of a nuclear Iran.
“There seems to be some conflation between the Iran nuclear deal and the expectation to fix all the bad things Iran does that we and our partners don’t like,” an unnamed US official stated. “Obviously those issues will continue to be a key subject of conversation, but there’s not going to be a swag bag of military hardware as a result of this deal.”
According to the report, American aid will come in the form of military exercises, regional troop presence of some 40,000 soldiers and arms stockpiles.
US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is expected to arrive in Israel on Sunday as part of a Middle East tour of American allies. He will travel to Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia to reaffirm the Obama administration’s commitment to each country’s security.
The Pentagon said Carter will be working with Israeli defense officials “to further explore ongoing efforts to identify solutions to some of their most critical security challenges – countering Iran’s destabilizing activities and preventing terror attacks.”
On Thursday, US diplomat Wendy Sherman revealed to Israeli reporters that Israel turned down previous defense packages from the US so as not to be seen as okaying the nuclear agreement. During negotiations between P5+1 nations and the Islamic Republic, Israel suspended all defense talks with the US pending a final outcome of negotiations.
Israeli defense officials said they wanted to wait to see the final result of nuclear talks in order to more finely tailor its defense requests to the Obama administration.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called the Iran agreement a “bad mistake of historic proportions,” has publicly warned that he will not hesitate to strike Iran should there be any indications the country is trying to obtain a nuclear weapon.
White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said on Friday via Twitter that while Israel’s concerns about Iran were legitimate, the Iran deal is the “best way” to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Earnest added that the deal “is in the national security interest of the US and our closest Mideast ally, Israel.”