US Denies Carter Visit Is Connected to Iran Deal

Senior US officials say that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter's visit has nothing to do with Iran, despite rumors of compensation package.

Tova Dvorin ,

Ashton Carter
Ashton Carter

Officials have denied that US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will offer Israel a military arms deal during his upcoming visit Sunday, nor that the visit is related at all to the Iran deal, the Associated Press reports Sunday. 

Carter is scheduled to meet with Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, to whom he is particularly close, and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu over security issues during the visit. 

On Friday, a senior official in Jerusalem implied that the visit is specifically to mend the rift between the US and Israel over the Iran deal through a compensation package, and noted that Jerusalem has refused to yield. 

"Israel explicitly said during a series of closed telephone conversations with officials that at this point it does not want to deal with the issue of strengthening its own security with the help of the United States," the official stated. 

And on Thursday night, Susan Rice, President Barack Obama’s National Security Adviser, also hinted at a compensation package in remarks to Reuters

"We looking forward - if the Israelis are interested and willing, they haven't said so yet - to discuss with them how we might further deepen and strengthen our security and intelligence cooperation," she said.

Washington and Jerusalem have very publicly locked horns on the deal, with Netanyahu decrying the accord as a "bitter mistake of historic proportions."