US mulling ‘unprecedented’ arms package to Israel after Iran deal
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US mulling ‘unprecedented’ arms package to Israel after Iran deal

Bundle said to include new, sophisticated weaponry; bitter Netanyahu asks why Israel needs compensation if accord is meant to make it safer

US National Security Adviser Susan Rice during an interview with Charlie Rose on the Public Broadcasting Service, February 24, 2015. (screen capture/YouTube/Charlie Rose)
US National Security Adviser Susan Rice during an interview with Charlie Rose on the Public Broadcasting Service, February 24, 2015. (screen capture/YouTube/Charlie Rose)

The US is considering providing an extensive military package to Israel in the wake of the Iranian nuclear accord, Channel 2 TV reported Sunday.

Days after the deal was signed in Vienna last Tuesday, sources in Washington indicated they will provide the Jewish state with advanced weaponry and technology, apparently to compensate for the boost the deal will give Iran.

In a Saturday phone call with former president Shimon Peres, National Security Adviser Susan Rice explained that the US was ready to offer Jerusalem a military compensation package that was unprecedented in its scope, the TV report said.

The package reportedly will include sophisticated weaponry that Israel does not yet possess, as well as cutting-edge technology.

Peres, for his part, was said to have expressed dissatisfaction with the limited purview of the inspections regime that, under the deal, could provide Iran with 24-days notice before probing suspect sites.

Rice responded that the US has the capability — covert and otherwise — to detect an early Iranian violation of the deal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the notion of a reimbursement package Sunday, saying that no amount of compensation would be enough to confront a nuclear armed Iran “sworn to our destruction.”

“Why should we need to be compensated if the deal is supposed to make us safer?” he asked. “The deal endangers our security, our survival even, and the security of the Middle East and the world,” Netanyahu said, during a US media blitz in the wake of the deal.

Another Israeli official told the Associated Press on Sunday that Jerusalem is not prepared to discuss American compensation for the Iran deal, saying that would imply acceptance of the accord.

On Thursday, US diplomat Wendy Sherman told Israeli reporters that Israel had turned down an offer of further aid. The administration has offered to discuss upgrading its defense assistance to Israel in wake of the deal, but was rebuffed by Netanyahu, she said in a conference call. “The prime minister was not ready to have that discussion yet,” Sherman said.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter — who was arriving in Israel late on Sunday as part of a tour of American allies in the Middle East — is expected to try to reassure Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Israel of Washington’s commitment to their defense.

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