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Top Israeli soldier in U.S. to talk Iran

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — The IDF chief of staff is coming to the United States to discuss Iran.

Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi is arriving Friday and will visit the United States through March 17. On his itinerary are meetings with Dennis Ross, the top State Department official handling Iran strategy, and Gen. James Jones, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser

Obama on Thursday extended Iran sanctions for a year, signalling his commitment to increasing Iran’s economic isolation as a means of having it end its suspected nuclear weapons program. Obama also has set in motion diplomatic outreach to Iran; Ross is the chief architect of the sticks-and-carrots approach.

Ashkenazi is also planning meetings with Israel’s U.N. mission; Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state; and the leadership of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

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