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U.S. defense secretary visits Israel as world powers discuss Iran nuclear deal

U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin (L) and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz are seen at a ceremony at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv, Israel on April 11, 2021. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin started a two-day visit to Israel on Sunday, in the first official visit by a U.S. official since President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January.

Jerusalem, Israel |  XINHUA |  U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin started a two-day visit to Israel on Sunday, in the first official visit by a U.S. official since President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January.

The U.S. official’s visit comes amid indirect U.S. talks on the renewal of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers.

In joint statements alongside Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz following a meeting between the two, Austin reiterated the U.S. commitment to protecting Israel’s security, adding that they also discussed the normalization of ties between Israel and several Arab nations.

Gantz said Israel “will work closely with our American allies to ensure that any new agreement with Iran will secure the vital interests of the world, of the United States, prevent a dangerous arms race in our region and protect the State of Israel.”

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