US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel boards an aircraft for a trip Middle East region at Andrews Air Force base near Washington, DC, April 20, 2013.
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel boards an aircraft for a trip Middle East region at Andrews Air Force base near Washington, DC, April 20, 2013.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says a major U.S. arms deal with Israel sends a “very clear signal” to Iran that military action could be used to stop Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Hagel made the comment to reporters on Sunday, as he flew to Israel to finalize the sale of advanced U.S. weapons including missiles designed to destroy enemy air defenses, aerial refueling tankers and troop transport planes.

Israel could use those weapons to attack the Iranian nuclear program, which the Jewish state says is aimed at making weapons that threaten its existence. Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful.

When a reporter asked Hagel if the U.S.-Israeli arms deal indicates that either of the two allies could use a military option against the Iranian program, he said “I don’t think there is any question that is another very clear signal to Iran.”

Hagel said there is no “daylight” (disagreement) between the United States and Israel about their goal of preventing Iran from being nuclear-armed. But, he acknowledged that there may be “some differences” about the timing of any action “when and if” Iran decides to build a nuclear bomb.

Hagel reiterated the U.S. position that Israel has a right to defend and protect itself against threats. He also said there is still time for diplomacy and international sanctions to resolve the Iranian nuclear dispute peacefully.

Hagel began his first trip to Israel since becoming U.S. defense secretary this year with a Sunday ceremony at Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. He described the Holocaust as a painful reality and said the world must prepare “future generations for a clear understanding” that they must “never allow it to happen again.”

Hagel is due to meet Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalaon and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the coming days before traveling to four other U.S. regional allies: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

During those visits, Hagel is expected to finalize two more U.S. arms sales, including advanced missiles for Saudi Arabia and F-16 fighter jets for the UAE. The total value of the U.S. weapons deals with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE is about $10 billion.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. we've been at war for over 11 years now.undeclared,unconstitutional war.haven't we had enough? Iraq,iran,afghanistan,north korea had nothing to do with 9/11.

  2. @ Blue Eyed Devil- ok Blue,so we fight terrorism by…. having US government give military aid and american taxpayer money to militant jihadist rebels in Lybia,Egypt.and now in Syria? because that what our gov't. be doing,my man.the neo-con and neo=liberals are funding Al-queada groups and sympathisers to spread Arab spring democracy! can't make this stuff up.and of course the CIA is up to their eye-balls in all this.and what about our own troops? suicide is way up among our troops.our government is the biggest terrorist out there.why? one reason we are supporting scum bag dictators and corrupt monarch slimeballs in that part of the world.call that liberation?I call that another blowback waiting to happen.and by the way,Blue it turns out that the gov't under gush and now obama have been supporting Chechenyan rebels and jihadists all along.

    • Well, there isn't much that you stated that I disagree with. War is ugly, and many bad choices are made. The thinking of this administration is terribly misguided. Head of Intel. Jim Clapper pronounced the ikhwan, (muslim brotherhood) as a secular group, and worthy of millions in military equipment to defend themselves against Sudan? Turkey? Libya? Iran?
      No, they will use it against Israel.
      The nation building idea, and thinking the muslim world will like us and embrace freedom is a joke. Islam doesn't want freedom. Democracy is mob rule. What America stands for is antithetical to islam.
      Reagan had the best idea, which was to facilitate a 10 year war between Iran and Iraq, and let them kill each other. Actually Shaft, we are not that far apart on this.

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