America’s top defense official vowed Saturday to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and to counter its “dangerous use” of suicide drones in the Mideast, as negotiations remain stalled over Tehran’s tattered atomic deal with world powers.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s comments in Bahrain at the annual Manama Dialogue appeared aimed at reassuring America’s Gulf Arab allies and Israel, as the Biden administration tries to revive the nuclear deal which limited Iran’s enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

“The United States remains committed to preventing Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon. And we remain committed to a diplomatic outcome of the nuclear issue,” Austin told an event put on by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“But if Iran isn’t willing to engage seriously, then we will look at all of the options necessary to keep the United States secure,” he said.

“Iran should be under no illusion that it will manage to undermine the relationship between the US and other countries in the region,” Austin said, according to the Walla news site.

Austin’s remarks come after the US’ chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan raised concerns about America’s commitment to the Middle East, as defense officials say they want to pivot forces to counter perceived challenges from China and Russia. READ MORE