NATO would not automatically defend Israel in the event of an attack by Iran, the alliance’s secretary-general said.
In an interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel published Saturday, Jens Stoltenberg said Israel does not fall under NATO’s “security guarantee,” because it is not a member of the alliance.
Stoltenberg said that conflicts in the Middle East are not part of NATO’s mission. A translation of his comments was published by The Associated Press.
Israel is not a member of the alliance, and is not covered under the mutual defense provision of the NATO charter, which says that member states have a responsibility to defend other members.
Stoltenberg’s comments came at a time of heightened tensions between Israel and Iran.
The two foes have clashed over Iran’s military presence in Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also stepped up his criticism of the 2015 nuclear deal that sought to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.
Israel was not part of that deal. President Trump announced in May that the U.S. would withdraw from the pact, which he said failed to address Iran’s activities beyond its nuclear program.
BY MAX GREENWOOD – 06/02/18