Gantz Says Israel Must Work With U.S. on Iran, Stresses Need to 'Influence Our Partners'

Yaniv Kubovich
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Defense Minister Benny Gantz with his Moroccan counterpart, Abdellatif Loudiyi, on Wednesday.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz with his Moroccan counterpart, Abdellatif Loudiyi, on Wednesday.Credit: Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry
Yaniv Kubovich

RABAT – Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Thursday that Israel must cooperate with the United States on Iran's nuclear program, after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday that Israel will not be bound by any future deal on the issue that the U.S. would be a partner to.

Speaking at the end of his visit to Morocco, Gantz said that Israel must make sure that it is "maintaining a dialogue with both sides of the aisle in the U.S., remains nonpartisan, and doesn't get caught up in American politics as was the case in the past."

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Regarding Iran, Gantz added that "there is a need to recruit globally, and we are doing that. Our responsibility regarding Iran is to influence our partners and have a continuous dialogue." However, Gantz noted that Israel must also continue "to build and upgrade its military strength."

Regarding the talks on a new nuclear deal expected to begin in Vienna next week, Gantz said that "a good deal would be a deal which would plug the holes in the current deal regarding nuclear development, launch systems, the agreement's timeline, and what Iran is doing in the area."

A defense official said that during the Israeli delegation's meetings in Morocco, "Iran's activities in this area and in African countries were discussed, as well as Iran's attempts to establish a presence outside of the Middle East. Here and in other countries it's understood that there is Iranian subversion."

The official added that Israel acted against Iranian representatives in the area, in coordination with the local countries. "The actions that are done are always connected to Iranian aggression and regional subversion."

Gantz's visit to Morocco is the first by a senior Israeli security figure. On Wednesday, he signed a defense agreement with his Moroccan counterpart, Abdellatif Loudiyi. The deal, which was signed one year after the two countries declared the beginning of diplomatic relations between them, will enable intelligence cooperation, joint military exercises, and deals between each country's weapons industry.

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