Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Tuesday headed to Washington for talks with senior U.S. officials regarding the Iranian nuclear program.
Barak's U.S. visit comes prior to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's and President Shimon Peres' arrivals next week.
"There are some security issues that apply to the defense minister. These sensitive issues (that will be discussed in Netanyahu's visit) require early coordination and many talks," a senior political source told Xinhua, explaining the goals of Baral 's visit.
In a two-day visit, Barak is scheduled to meet senior U.S. officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and other security and intelligence figures.
Netanyahu will take off to North America on Thursday, first to Canada where he will meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and then to Washington where he is to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama, as well as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and senior congressmen.
Netanyahu talked about his visit at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, saying that the talks would surround the regional instability.
"While we will discuss all of these issues, there is no doubt that one issue will be at the center of our talks, and that is, of course, the continued strengthening of Iran and its nuclear program," he said.
The prime minister mentioned the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) report that was published during the weekend, with the conclusion that Iran is boosting its uranium enrichment.
The report, Netanyahu said, "proves that Israel's assessments were correct. i.e. that Iran is continuing to make rapid progress in its nuclear program, without let-up, while defying and grossly ignoring the decisions of the international community."
President Peres, who will also leave for Washington this week, will meet with Obama on Sunday. According to a Haaretz daily report on Thursday, Peres will tell the American president that the West should lead the battle against Iran, not Israel.
Peres himself addressed the issue on the same day, saying that "The State of Israel is an independent state and has the right to defend itself. When we say 'all options are on the table', we really mean it."
Iran's uranium enrichment activities have raised many concerns in the West that Tehran is seeking to weaponize its nuclear program. However, Iran insists the program is solely for peaceful purposes, such as power generation and medical treatment. Israel, an arch-enemy of Iran, has threatened to launch military operations against Iran's nuclear sites.