General Kenneth McKenzie
General Kenneth McKenzieRod Lamkey/Pool via REUTERS

CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie on Friday told reporters that “the number one objective of the United States with regard to Iran is that Iran not possess a nuclear weapon”.

“I continue to see Iran as the greatest threat to regional security and stability. They furnish weapons, support and direction to proxies across the region who engage in acts of terror and undermine local governments, all advancing Iranian interests,” said McKenzie.

He warned against Iran's ballistic missile threat which he said “has continued to advance and expand with greater ranges and accuracy. CENTCOM has continued to watch Iran and its proxies as we act as a deterrent to Iranian attacks on US interests.”

On a potential nuclear deal with Iran, McKenzie said, “So the number one objective of the United States with regard to Iran is that Iran not possess a nuclear weapon. So I think any solution that closes that path to them contributes to regional security, because we'd all like to work with an Iran that is not a nuclear-armed Iran. The best way to get to there is probably through a negotiated agreement.”

He added that an agreement with Iran does not solve Iranian proxies. It doesn't solve the compelling problem of Iranian ballistic missiles, land attack cruise missiles and small unmanned aerial vehicles, and we need to recognize that. That's a separate problem.”

“But I do think having the ability to take the nuclear option off the table has to contribute to regional security. Now, there are second-order effects with that, if an agreement is reached. And that would be with the Department of State, not with the Department of Defense, and not with me to comment on,” said McKenzie.

“But I think anything that -- where Iran agrees not to possess a nuclear weapon that is verifiable through a process that would be jointly and mutually agreed upon, I think that's a good thing.”

Earlier this week, McKenzie told US lawmakers that Iran’s ballistic missiles pose a great threat to the Middle East and that Iran now has about 3,000 ballistic missiles, some of which are capable of hitting Tel Aviv.

"None of them can reach Europe yet, but over the last five to seven years … they have invested heavily in their ballistic missile program," he said, according to Voice of America.

The warning came just days after dozens of Iranian ballistic missiles hit the northern Iraqi city of Erbil near the US consulate complex, destroying some residential structures.

Iran claimed the attack and said it was intended to target "secret Israeli bases" in Iraq. The Saudi channel Al-Hadath reported that the missiles were in retaliation for the killing of two officers from the Revolutionary Guards in an air strike in Syria last week which was attributed to Israel.

(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)