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Issei Kato/Reuters/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin arrived for his first visit in Jerusalem amid nuclear talks in Vienna and growing tensions between Israel and Iran.

Why it matters: Austin met his counterpart Benny Gantz and will meet later with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss Iran and regional security issues.

  • In recent weeks there have been a number of attacks between Israel and Iran in the Red Sea and the Gulf.
  • Netanyahu has said Israel will not be bound by any new nuclear deal.

What they are saying: In press statements after the meeting, Gantz said Israel will work with the Biden administration to make sure any future nuclear deal preserves the interests of the world, prevent a nuclear arms race and protect Israel.

  • Austin didn’t mention Iran in his statement and stressed the Biden administration’s commitment to Israel’s security.
  • Meanwhile, Iran announced an "accident" occurred at its uranium enrichment facility in Natanz that the head of Iran's atomic energy organization said "was an act of terrorism."

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Apr 9, 2021 - World

U.S. unsure of Iran's "seriousness of purpose" after Vienna nuclear talks

The setting for the talks, in Vienna's Grand Hotel. Photo: EU Delegation in Vienna via Getty

This week's nuclear talks in Vienna "met expectations" but did not assuage U.S. doubts about Iran's willingness to negotiate in good faith over the 2015 nuclear deal, a senior State Department official told reporters on Friday.

The state of play: Iran refused to meet directly with the U.S. but held three days of talks with the nuclear deal's other signatories, while the U.S. — represented in Vienna by Iran envoy Rob Malley — communicated indirectly through envoys, primarily from the European Union.

Apr 10, 2021 - World

Iran says it's testing new advanced nuclear centrifuge

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking in Tehran on April 10. Photo: Iran Presidency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Iran said Saturday it's testing a new and advanced nuclear centrifuge to more effectively enrich uranium, AP reports.

Why it matters: The announcement by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani comes as Tehran and Washington hold indirect talks in an attempt to bring the U.S. back into the 2015 nuclear deal.

Apr 10, 2021 - World

Iran tightens COVID restrictions amid fourth wave of pandemic

Revolutionary Guard members prepare to take part in disinfecting Tehran, Iran. Photo: Majid Saeedi / Getty Images

Iran on Saturday began enforcing tightened COVID restrictions nationwide as the number of coronavirus cases surged.

Driving the news: The country on Friday recorded 22,478 coronavirus cases, its highest single-day total, according to Al Jazeera. Health officials confirmed more than 19,660 cases on Saturday, as the surge in new infections follows last month's Iranian holiday celebrations.