US Defence Secretary Ash Carter, joined by US Department of Defence press secretary Peter Cook (L), arrives to speak to media on a military aircraft en route to Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv - Carter is scheduled to meet with Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon on Monday and with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday
US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said on Sunday he has no expectation of persuading Israeli leaders to drop their opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, but will instead emphasise that the accord imposes no limits on what Washington can do to ensure the security of Israel and US Arab allies.
"Our ability to carry out that strategy is unchanged," Carter told reporters aboard his plane en route to Tel Aviv.
The Obama administration reserves the right to use military force against Iran if necessary, he added, although the nuclear deal is intended to preclude that by resolving the issue diplomatically.
Carter is scheduled to meet with Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon on Monday and with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday before travelling to Saudi Arabia and Jordan to consult on the implications of the Iran deal and to assess progress in the regional campaign against the Daesh group. One of the bases used for US-led training and arming of moderate Syrian rebels is in Jordan, and the Jordanian air force has carried out strikes against Daesh militants in Syria. One Jordanian pilot was captured and killed by the militants.
Netanyahu has been harshly critical of the Iran nuclear deal, asserting that it clears the way for Iran to build nuclear weapons that would threaten Israel's existence and ultimately diminish US and global security.
"I'm not going to change anybody's mind in Israel," Carter said in the interview. "We can agree to disagree."
In his remarks, Carter repeatedly mentioned that the Iran deal places no limitations on the US defence strategy or its military presence in the Middle East, which includes warplanes, an aircraft carrier and tens of thousands of troops. He gave no indication, however, that the Pentagon plans immediate moves to bolster that presence, which is anchored by the Navy's 5th fleet headquarters in Bahrain, an air operations centre in Qatar and a military headquarters in Kuwait running the war against the Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
In the interview, Carter previewed the message he will convey to Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia on behalf of President Barack Obama, who already has called a number of Mideast leaders to reaffirm US support and to explain the Iran deal.
"This is a good deal," Carter said. "It removes a critical element of danger, threat and uncertainty from the region," and does so in a way that can be verified not only by the US but by the international community.
Asked whether he thinks the Iran accord makes it more likely that Israel will launch a pre-emptive military strike on Iran, Carter noted that the US has discussed military options with Israel for a number of years.
"One of the reasons this deal is a good one is that it does nothing to prevent the military option - the US military option, which I'm responsible for" and which will be improved and preserved, he said.
The US-Israel defence relationship has deepened in recent years, even as tensions between the two over how to contain Iran's nuclear programme has grown.