Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz met with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and conferred on, according to an Israeli readout, “emerging challenges and opportunities in the region, with a particular focus on the developing challenge vis-à-vis the Iranian nuclear program and its regional aggression”. Gantz told his counterpart that the Islamic Republic posed “not just a threat to our physical security [but] a concrete threat to our way of life and our shared values… In its aspirations to become a hegemon, Iran seeks to destroy all traces of freedom, human dignity and peace in the Middle East and beyond. The nuclear program is a means to its hegemonic goals”. According to a U.S. readout, Austin asserted that “we share Israel’s deep concerns about the Iranian government’s destabilising actions, including its support for terrorism and its missile program, and its alarming nuclear advances”. “The president has made clear that if the [diplomatic] policy fails, we are prepared to turn to other options”, he noted.
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