Agree­ing to dis­agree on Iran deal

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS• - AMMAN, JOR­DAN

In high-stakes talks aimed at calm­ing U.S. al­lies’ fears about the Iran nu­clear deal, De­fence Sec­re­tary Ash Carter ap­peared to change no minds among Is­raeli lead­ers fiercely op­posed to the deal.

They called it a bad deal. He called it a good deal. And they all just called it a day.

On Tues­day Carter did avoid a public tongue-lash­ing by Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu. The Is­raeli leader has called the Iran deal a mon­u­men­tal mis­take and as­serted that it se­verely weak­ens Is­rael’s se­cu­rity, strength­ens Iran and con­tra­dicts Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s stated goal of pre­vent­ing Iran from ac­quir­ing a nu­clear weapon.

Carter and Ne­tanyahu met Tues­day in the prime min­is­ter’s of­fice in Jerusalem. Nei­ther com­mented on Iran in a brief ap­pear­ance be­fore news cam­eras and re­porters.

They shook hands and Ne­tanyahu quickly steered Carter up­stairs, to Carter’s ap­par­ent sur­prise that Ne­tanyahu was by­pass­ing a chance to pub­licly at­tack the deal.

Later, dur­ing re­marks to U.S., French, Bel­gian, Bri­tish, Jor­da­nian and other in­ter­na­tional troops at an air base in Jor­dan, Carter men­tioned that Ne­tanyahu had been blunt be­hind closed doors.

“The prime min­is­ter made it quite clear that he dis­agreed with us with re­spect to the nu­clear deal in Iran,” Carter said. “But friends can dis­agree.” Carter has said his aim is to keep the U.S.-Is­raeli mil­i­tary re­la­tion­ship on track and to prom­ise that the U.S. will of­fer more co-op­er­a­tion on joint de­fence projects like mis­sile de­fence.

A Carter aide who at­tended the talks in Jerusalem later told re­porters that Ne­tanyahu bluntly ex­pressed his op­po­si­tion to the Iran deal but did not get an­gry or up­set with Carter.

AP PHOTO

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu, right, turns to the media as he and U.S. De­fense Sec­re­tary Ash Carter pre­pare to go up­stairs to meet at the prime min­is­ter's of­fice in Jerusalem, Is­rael, Tues­day.

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