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U.S. Defense Chief: Iran Deal Does Not 'Prevent Military Option'

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter says the Iran nuclear deal agreed to last week does not eliminate military action as an option for stopping Iran from obtaining an atomic weapon.

Carter said aboard a flight on July 19 from Washington to Israel that "one of the reasons why this deal is a good one is that it does nothing to prevent the military option."

Carter arrived in Israel on July 20, marking the first Cabinet-level U.S. visit to the country since the Iran nuclear deal was announced.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel appreciates its friendship with the United States and thanked Carter for his contributions to Israeli security.

Israel is the first stop on a Middle East trip by Carter to explain the Iran nuclear deal to U.S. allies in the region. He will also visit Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.

He is also scheduled to meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on July 21. Netanyahu has been highly critical of the Iran nuclear deal and called it a "historic mistake."

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters