WASHINGTON, March 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel reiterated his country's commitment to preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, Pentagon said on Thursday.
Hagel made the remarks during a phone conversation with his Israeli counterpart Moshe Yaalon on Wednesday, according to Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.
Kirby said during the phone talk, Hagel expressed deep concern over the minister's comments on U.S. policy towards Iran, and Yaalon clarified his remarks by underscoring his commitment to the strength of the U.S.-Israel relationship.
News reports say Yaalon on Monday criticized the U.S. foreign policy towards Iran, saying that it is so weak that Israel cannot depend on it to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear capability. His remarks upset the White House.
Kirby also said "Minster Yaalon provided the secretary with an update on Israel's security situation and yesterday's Israeli operation against Syrian military and security targets on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights launched in retaliation for a March 18 bomb attack in the Golan Heights near the Syrian border that left four Israeli soldiers injured".
Hagel expressed his sympathy for the wounded Israeli forces and their families, as well as his concern for the ongoing situation in Syria, Kirby said.
The secretary and minister also pledged to continue working closely with one another on the range of security issues facing the United States and Israel, he added.
Obama urges Iran to seize opportunity of nuclear talks
WASHINGTON, March 20 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday called on Iran to seize the opportunity of nuclear talks to open a "new chapter in the history".
"There is a chance to reach an agreement if Iran takes meaningful and verifiable steps to assure the world that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only," Obama said in a video message marking Nowruz, the Persian new year. Full story