US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter met Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday to try to ease tensions over the Iran nuclear deal, as the Israeli leader urged lawmakers in Washington to reject the agreement.
The two men greeted each other with a long handshake before entering the meeting that lasted nearly two hours, making no comment about the tensions over the nuclear accord that Netanyahu has harshly condemned, according to AFP.
On Sunday, officials denied that Carter will offer Israel a military arms deal during his visit, or that the visit is related at all to the Iran deal.
Their meeting came on the final day of Carter's visit to Israel, the first stop on a regional tour aimed at reassuring US allies in the region who have concerns over the Iran deal.
Netanyahu has condemned the deal with Iran, arguing it is not strong enough to keep the Islamic republic from obtaining nuclear weapons that could be used to target Israel.
He has also indicated that military force remains on the table to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, though experts say unilateral strikes by Israel appear highly unlikely for now.
Despite the tension, Carter said Israel remained "the bedrock of American strategy in the Middle East" during a meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Monday.
During that meeting, Carter noted aspects of military aid the United States already supplies to Israel and said "there is a lot more that we can do" related to cooperation.
"We will continue in that tradition in improving our joint capabilities, our joint readiness, our joint planning," he said.