Spotlight: 1st U.S. military base in Israel unveiled to curb Iran

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-20 05:53:08|Editor: ZD
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by Xinhua writer Wang Bowen

JERUSALEM, Sept. 19 (Xinhua) -- The first U.S. permanent military base unveiled in Israel Tuesday reveals the two sides' readiness to enhance bilateral cooperation and further curb Iran.

Israel and the United States have been working towards the base during the past two years, and all facilities necessary for a permanent military presence will be put in place soon, by when several dozens of U.S. soldiers will be stationed, said Zvika Haimovitch, head of the Aerial Defense Division in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

The IDF announced on Monday that the United States has opened a permanent military base at Israel's southern region of Negev desert.

Haimovitch told the press that the base would be established at the School of Air Defense, not disclosing whether the Americans would take part in any combat operations.

The base's opening comes as Israel faces a slew of regional threats, especially from its arch enemy Iran.

Iran has continued to work on both its nuclear program as well as its ballistic missiles, despite international criticism has kept Israel and the United States on high alert.

Analysts believe the open of the base is a follow-up move to further watch and curb Iran, whose relationship with the United States has increasingly deteriorated after the U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

After years of tension with the West, Iran struck a deal, known as JCPOA, with the world powers of Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States plus Germany in July 2015, under which Iran agreed to limit its uranium-enrichment activities in return for the lifting of western and international sanctions.

However, Trump, who during his election campaign had called the Iranian nuclear deal a "disaster" and "the worst deal ever negotiated," approved new economic sanctions on Tehran last month for its missile program, which triggered worries about possible U.S. termination of the nuclear deal with Iran.

To better respond to missile threats, Israel and the United States have been working together to develop several missile defense systems. On Sunday, the IDF opened a new Iron Dome battalion, adding additional defense capabilities to Israel's air defense.

"The American base and the establishment of the new battalion bring more capabilities," Haimovitch stated.

The two countries have long maintained a good rapport with each other in terms of military cooperation, with the United States providing financial support to help develop Israel's military capabilities and Israel keeping an eye on hostile states such as Iran.