Israel pushes for better Iran deal amid military buildup

Nov 25, 2021, 8:39 AM | Updated: 10:00 am
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz, center, is welcomed by Morocco's Foreign Minister Nasser Bour...

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz, center, is welcomed by Morocco's Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, in Rabat, Morocco, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. Israel and Morocco signed a landmark agreement Wednesday that lays the foundation for security cooperation, intelligence sharing, and future arms sales. (AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)

(AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)

RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Israel’s defense minister said Thursday he hopes a better nuclear deal will come out of upcoming talks between world powers and Iran, but that Israel is hedging its bets and building up its military capabilities.

Benny Gantz spoke to reporters at the close of a two-day visit to the Moroccan capital of Rabat, where he met with top Moroccan intelligence, defense and diplomatic officials. Among the issues discussed was Iran.

“Our obligation concerning Iran is to influence our partners and maintain an ongoing conversation,” Gantz said. “Our second obligation is to build up military power, which is something important in and of itself.”

Nuclear talks between Iran and world powers are set to kick off next week in Vienna.

Iran has steamed ahead with its enrichment of uranium since the United States withdrew from a landmark nuclear agreement with world powers in 2018. Israel was deeply opposed to that agreement, and Israeli officials now say Tehran is closer than ever to developing nuclear arms.

Iran says its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes and has blamed the breakdown of the agreement on the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from it and restore crippling sanctions. The Biden administration has said it hopes to negotiate a return to the deal.

Israel is widely believed to be the only nuclear-armed country in the Middle East, though it maintains a policy of ambiguity about its own program.

Gantz said that Israel must work in concert with the U.S. and avoid making the issue of Iran’s nuclear program a partisan one.

“A good agreement is one that will plug the holes in the previous agreement in the fields of nuclear development, missile launching systems, breakout time and what Iran is doing in the region,” Gantz said.

Gantz’s visit was the first official visit by an Israeli defense official to one of its new Arab allies. Israel and Morocco normalized relations last year as part of the so-called Abraham Accords and this week signed a defense agreement.

The defense minister visited Rabat’s sole functioning synagogue, Talmud Torah, and was welcomed by leaders of the small Jewish community. The cantor recited prayers for the welfare of the king and for Israel and its armed forces. On display was a framed picture of King Mohamed VI, the Moroccan flag and the Israeli flag — an addition to the synagogue since the signing of the accords last year.

“Even when it’s difficult, we need to strive for peace,” Gantz said to a group that included Moroccan and Israeli military officers. “We must always been the strongest in the region.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Seminole Tribe suspends Florida online sports betting app

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (AP) — The Seminole Tribe of Florida shut down its online sports betting app Saturday after being dealt its latest legal defeat in a case that has halted a massive expansion of gambling throughout Florida. The tribe said it will temporarily stop taking bets on its Hard Rock Sportsbook app in response to […]
13 hours ago
Associated Press

Chile reports first case of omicron variant of coronavirus

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Chile on Saturday reported its first case of the omicron variant of the coronavirus. A foreign national residing in Chile returned from Ghana on Nov. 25 and tested positive in a PCR test at the Santiago airport, according to authorities. The foreigner, who had two Pfizer vaccines, is in good health […]
13 hours ago
A man dressed as Santa Claus gestures as people walk past, in London, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. Brita...
Associated Press

UK tightens travel testing rules amid omicron concerns

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s government tightened travel restrictions Saturday amid concerns about the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, saying all travelers arriving in England will need to take a COVID-19 test before they board their flight. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the new rules will apply from 4 a.m. London time Tuesday. “In light […]
13 hours ago
FILE - In this Dec. 31, 2020, file photo, President Donald Trump arrives on the South Lawn of the W...
Associated Press

Trump media partner says it has lined up $1B in capital

PALM BEACH, Florida (AP) — Donald Trump’s new social media company and its special purpose acquisition company partner say the partner has agreements for $1 billion in capital from institutional investors. The former president launched his new company, Trump Media & Technology Group, in October. He unveiled plans for a new messaging app called “Truth […]
13 hours ago
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson walks past a Christmas tree whilst leaving 10 Downing Street t...
Associated Press

Police get complaints over U.K. leader’s festive parties

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s opposition Labour Party has raised complaints to police about Christmas parties held by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s staff in his office last year in breach of coronavirus restrictions. The reports surfaced as many in the U.K. and elsewhere are increasingly concerned about festive parties and socializing over Christmas this year amid […]
13 hours ago
People who arrived on international flights wait to be tested on the first day of a new rapid COVID...
Associated Press

Biden administration to implement new measures for travelers entering US

Travelers heading to the U.S. will be required to show evidence of a negative test for the virus within one day of boarding their flight.
13 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Thyroid issues: Here are the warning signs and what to do

In a 100-person office in the United States, an estimated 12 co-workers, employees and loved ones, will likely develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. That’s because, according to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12% of the U.S. population will experience thyroid issues.

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Why fall maintenance is important for your heating system and A/C

It’s easy to ignore your heater and air conditioner when they’re working but the moment something breaks, you will likely regret not keeping up with maintenance. After all, if something goes wrong, you may be stuck with a repair that will take longer and be more expensive than simple maintenance.
Israel pushes for better Iran deal amid military buildup