Ebene Magazine – Gantz: IDF updates military plans for a possible strike at Iranian nuclear sites

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Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Thursday the Israeli forces are constantly updating their plans for a possible military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Gantz said in an interview with Fox News that the military plans would only be finalized shortly before such a strike was carried out.

« Until then, we will continue to build them [the plans] to improve them … to the highest professional level possible, » he said.

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« If the world stops them [Iran] first, that’s very good. If not, we have to stand independently and defend ourselves, » added the Defense Minister.

Israel has twice launched military strikes against its enemies’ nuclear programs – Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007 – under the so-called Begin Doctrine, which states that Jerusalem will not allow an enemy country to obtain a nuclear weapon.

His comments came as the US tries to re-enter the Iranian nuclear deal. The Islamic Republic openly violated the agreement concluded in 2015 and increased uranium enrichment far beyond the permissible levels. International inspectors have recently been banned from their nuclear sites.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday that the 2015 nuclear deal could « not be renegotiated – period ».

« Let’s stop posing, » he tweeted, « which we both did to no avail in 2003-2012 – and let’s get to work on [the deal] we both actually signed. »

Iran has called for the immediate lifting of US sanctions as a prerequisite for returning to compliance with the deal, while Washington has said Iran must first end its violations of the deal.

On Sunday, Iran turned down an offer from the European Union to hold informal direct talks with the EU and the US about Tehran’s nuclear program. The administration of US President Joe Biden had accepted this in principle.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he will do everything possible to prevent an Iran armed with nuclear weapons, regardless of whether Washington resumes the nuclear agreement with the Islamic Republic.

« I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, and so far we have been successful, » Netanyahu said on Thursday.

Said in an interview with Fox News earlier on Thursday Netanyahu, he thinks Biden « understands … that my obligation to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons is absolute ».

« But one thing I believe he understands and respects, is that we, as prime ministers of the only Jewish state, will not allow a bunch of ayatollahs to wipe us off the ground or the map of history, « said Netanyahu.

Last week, Netanyahu held the first major innerminis held a meeting to discuss Israel’s policy towards Iran since Biden took office. High-ranking officials who attended the meeting included Defense Minister Gantz, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen and Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Gilad Erdan.

Also present were the former National Security Council chairmen Yaakov Amidror and Yaakov Nagel, whom Netanyahu is using as external advisors on the matter, reported the Walla news site. Both have a Hawkish stance towards Iran, which is more in line with Netanyahu’s.

Amidror was national security advisor while the agreement was being worked out and discussed with his then American counterpart Susan Rice. Nagel, a nuclear expert, was also active as an advisor during this time, but stayed longer and held talks with the Trump administration in order to initiate the “maximum pressure” sanction campaign.

Long-time Netanyahu is also expected as an external advisor on this matter – Adjutant and Erdan’s predecessor Ron Dermer, who will return to Israel in the coming weeks.

During the meeting last Monday, Kohavi and Cohen emphasized the importance of building goodwill with the new US administration by they do not publicly argue with Washington about the Iran deal, reported Walla.

« We have not moved away from our position against the return to the nuclear deal, but we want to work with the administration and have a constructive discussion about it, none Confrontation, « said a senior official.

In addition, according to Reuters, Netanyahu plans to dele talks about Iran to senior executives greed to avoid personal tension between him and Biden.

« The intent is to sort everything out at this level and keep this channel of communication open, » a senior official told Reuters. « Obviously this has advantages when there is a risk of a » cold shoulder « at the CEO level. »

Jerusalem hopes to keep the dispute with the new government « under the radar » for the time being, Army Radio reported. </ Also last week, public broadcaster Kan reported that senior Israeli and Saudi officials recently made several phone calls to discuss the Biden government's plans to rejoin the Iranian nuclear deal.

During the talks, the Saudis also expressed concerns about the new US administration and lamented its focus on human rights abuses in the kingdom, the report said. Israel and Saudi Arabia have no diplomatic relatives, but they have secret relationships. Netanyahu visited Saudi Arabia in November for the first known meeting between Israeli and Saudi leaders.

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