CHUCK Hagel, the US defence secretary, has warned Iran that a major arms deal between the US and Israel was a "clear signal" that it could face a military strike unless the country abandoned its nuclear programme.
At the start of a six-day visit to the Middle East yesterday, Mr Hagel acknowledged that the US and Israel differed on how close Tehran was to building a nuclear bomb, adding there was still time for diplomacy to work.
But he said America recognised Israel's right to decide whether to act on its own. "Iran presents a threat in its nuclear programme and Israel will make the decisions that Israel must make to protect itself and defend itself," he said.
Mr Hagel's visit will seal an agreement to provide Israel with missiles for its fighter aircraft, plus KC-135 refuelling planes that could be used in a long-range strike. © Daily Telegraph, London)