A multi-billion dollar arms deal with Israel is designed to send a “clear message” to Iran, says U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
A major U.S. defense contract with Israel sends a “very clear signal” to Iran that military action remains an option on the table, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told reporters on Sunday just before his arrival in Israel for a two-day visit.
The American official was asked if the multi-billion dollar arms package with Israel is intended to convey the message that the U.S. is willing to consider a military strike to stop from completing its nuclear military goals.
Prior to landing at Ben Gurion International Airport, Hagel told journalists, “I don’t think there’s any question that’s another very clear signal to Iran,” AFP reported.
The arms deal would provide Israel with missiles for its fighter aircraft, V-22 Osprey transport planes and KC-135 refueling planes that could be used in a long-range strike against a nation like Iran.
Hagel said the United States and Israel see “exactly the same” threat from Iran, although the two differ on the time line for the need to intervene with military action.
The defense secretary underscored his view that as a sovereign nation, Israel has the right to decide for itself whether and when to pre-empt any attack from Iran.
“Israel will make the decision that Israel must make to protect itself, to defend itself,” Hagel said while still on the plane prior to his arrival in Israel.
But although the two allies may differ on their view of the timing, he said there is “no daylight at all” between Israel and the U.S. on the primary goal of preventing Iran from completing its goal of creating an atomic weapon of mass destruction.
“In dealing with Iran, every option must be on the table,” he said.