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Pentagon Chief Reassures Israel, Gulf Arab Allies About Iran Nuclear Deal

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter sought to reassure Middle East allies on July 21 about the Iran nuclear deal during a regional tour that includes stops in Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

Carter had met on July 20 in Israel with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a fierce critic of the Iran nuclear accord.

Despite their disagreement over the Iran nuclear deal, Carter offered assurances that the United States will help counter Iranian influence in states surrounding Israel before flying on July 21 to Jordan.

Speaking at a Jordanian air base to troops from six countries of the anti-Islamic State alliance, Carter said the United States and Israel had a “common commitment to countering Iranian malign influence in the region.”

Carter is due in Saudi Arabia on July 22 for a visit expected to be dominated by Saudi Arabia’s concerns about the Iran nuclear deal and Iran’s support for Shi’ite militants in the region.

Sunni-ruled Gulf countries have been wary of U.S. overtures to Iran’s Shi’ite leadership.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP