Gantz: Israel Has the Ability to Seriously Damage Iran’s Nuclear Program - The Jewish Voice
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Gantz: Israel Has the Ability to Seriously Damage Iran’s Nuclear Program

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Edited by:  Fern Sidman

As the Iranian nuclear arms program continues to dominate headlines in the immediate aftermath of President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East last week, it was reported on Tuesday that Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz issued a stern warning to the rogue regime in neighboring Iran.

During an interview at a Channel 13 conference in Jerusalem, Gantz said that Israel has the ability to cause serious damage to Iran’s nuclear program, as was reported by the Times of Israel. He also warned that any attempts to revive the Obama initiated 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with member states of the international community in order to slow down Iranian nuclear ambitions would only serve as a delaying tactic.

“Iran is a global problem. It is not just Israel’s private problem,” Gantz said.

When queried as to whether Israel possesses the military wherewithal to put an abrupt end to Iran’s rapid pace in developing a nuclear weapon or just has the ability to delay it, Gantz replied, “We are able to seriously harm and delay the nuclear program.”

Gantz added that he was not optimistic concerning President Biden’s constant insistence that diplomacy can succeed in stopping Iran from becoming nuclear. He said that it is an “unfounded concept” and added that “we are very unsatisfied with the agreement, which would be a bad agreement because it would be a temporary delay.”

Gantz added that he was not optimistic concerning President Biden’s constant insistence that diplomacy can succeed in stopping Iran from becoming nuclear. He said that it is an “unfounded concept” and added that “we are very unsatisfied with the agreement, which would be a bad agreement because it would be a temporary delay.” Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org

TOI reported that Gantz also warned that the US plan would afford the Iranian regime with more time to strengthen their economic prospects and that down the road in the future, the regime would eventually legitimize a return to their nuclear program.

The JCPOA gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for limits on its nuclear program to prevent it obtaining nuclear weapons, a goal Iran denies it seeks, as was reported by the TOI. The pact steadily unraveled after the Trump administration pulled the US out in 2018 and slapped Iran with stiff sanctions. TOI reported that in response, Iran dropped its own commitments to the deal, boosting the program and increasing uranium enrichment beyond levels set in the deal.

TOI also reported that talks in Vienna earlier this year aimed to bring the US back into the JCPOA and Iran back into accordance with its terms, but the negotiations have been stalled for months amid a standoff between Washington and Iran.

Gantz said he doesn’t expect an agreement in the near future.

“I don’t see any big indications of that at the moment,” he said, but conceded it could not be ruled out, as was reported by TOI.

As it pertains to the possible intervention of US military in the troubled region, Gantz told the Jerusalem Post last week that war against Iran should only be a matter of last resort. He added that he hoped the United States would support such a step if necessary.

During a public interview with The Atlantic’s Editor in Chief Jeffrey Goldberg last week at the Aspen Security Forum, Gantz said, “Should we jump to a war at the first opportunity we have? No.” as was reported by the JPost. The interview focuses on regional issues, including the Abraham Accords and Iran.

Goldberg had asked him if Israel was “prepared to confront Iran alone,” according to the JPost report.

“Should we be able to conduct military operations to prevent it, a nuclear Iran if needed, the answer is ‘yes.’ Are we building the ability for war? Yes. Should we use it as a last case? Yes – and I hope that we will get US support,” Gantz said.

He added that he thinks the nations of the world and especially those in the region should take measures to stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

“We as the Israeli government, as leaders of the Jewish country, have a historical responsibility to make sure that this a nuclear Iran doesn’t happen,” he said, as was reported by the JPost.

Gantz’s remarks come on the heels of a recent report that a network of Israeli espionage operatives embedded in Iran were apprehended by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps intelligence unit. These claims were reported on Saturday evening by the Iranian state-owned Tasnim news agency. They cited their source for the allegation from the Iranian information ministry, according to the JPost report.

Gantz’s remarks come on the heels of a recent report that a network of Israeli espionage operatives embedded in Iran were apprehended by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps intelligence unit. These claims were reported on Saturday evening by the Iranian state-owned Tasnim news agency. They cited their source for the allegation from the Iranian information ministry. Photo Credit: AP

World Israel News reported that Iranian media recently claimed that the alleged Israeli spy network was at the advanced stages of a plan to blow up a nuclear facility in the country when captured.

The ring had already hidden explosives at an unnamed site in Isfahan, which is home to several key Iranian missile and nuclear installations, the report said.

WIN reported that Tasnim News stated Saturday that the secret agents were planning to implement “unprecedented acts of sabotage and terrorist operations in certain sensitive areas by using the latest technology as well as powerful explosives.”

According to the report, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry said that all members of the network were captured by the security services, along with “their weapons, explosives, as well as their technical and communication equipment.”

The ministry did not release the number of those arrested, nor did it state their nationalities.

WIN also reported that a senior official of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Yadollah Khedmati, said that the network’s members “were in contact with the agents of the Mossad spy terrorist organization.”

Israel’s intelligence organization has been accused numerous times by the Iranian regime of carrying out sabotage operations in the country, especially against its nuclear facilities, as well as killing its leading scientists. WIN reported that Israel typically does not comment.

Before announcing the capture, Iranian state media indirectly confirmed that an IRGC missile engineer was assassinated last week, calling Thamardar Mutlak a “shahid.”

However, the Iranian National Congress, a U.S.-based opposition group, said that the authorities had specifically wanted to downplay the issue at this time and warned Mutlak’s family not to spread the news of his assassination.

WIN reported that the Islamic regime has arrested dozens of people over the past year, accusing them of working for the Mossad. Last month, a top general of the IRGC was arrested as an Israeli spy, and the organization’s longtime chief of intelligence, Hossein Taeb, was ousted.

It was also reported that in attempts to seek vengeance against Israel for its alleged spying operation, Iranian agents sought to target Israeli tourists in Istanbul, Turkey, according to Turkish media.

It was also reported that in attempts to seek vengeance against Israel for its alleged spying operation, Iranian agents sought to target Israeli tourists in Istanbul, Turkey, according to Turkish media. Photo Credit: AP

Turkish authorities arrested two additional Iranians earlier this week, Sabah reported Friday.

On Saturday, Sabah reported that an Iranian cell was instructed to target three Israeli tourists, and followed three female Israeli tourists and planned to assassinate them in their hotel room at the Taksim Square. The agents were paid $35,000 by Iranian authorities for their efforts.

A video published by Sabah showed a man photographing the tourists’ hotel room, Kan News noted.

Sabah added that the four members of the cell arrested on June 17 were arrested “at the last minute.”

Friday’s report said that Turkish security forces foiled another attempt by Iranian agents earlier this month, on July 14. Three additional agents were arrested in that operation, which took place in two locations at once: Istanbul and nearby Yalova. The agents were captured near the hotel, after escaping out a window of one of the hotel’s rooms.

Also on Tuesday, Gantz sent a strong message to Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon.

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon took to the airwaves Monday to threaten Israel again over the development of its offshore natural gas fields. The terror chief stated, “All of Israel’s gas fields are under threat from our missiles – not just Karish. The ships that extract the gas are Israeli, even if under a Greek banner.” Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org

World Israel News reported that Nasrallah took to the airwaves Monday to threaten Israel again over the development of its offshore natural gas fields.

In an interview on Lebanese TV in honor of the Iranian proxy’s 40th anniversary, the terror chief stated, “All of Israel’s gas fields are under threat from our missiles – not just Karish. The ships that extract the gas are Israeli, even if under a Greek banner,” as was reported by WIN.

Greek energy exploration and production company Energean bought the rights to both the Karish and Tanin offshore fields and recently sent a floating rig to start extracting gas from the Karish field. WIN reported that its first gas delivery to an Israeli power plant is set for the third quarter of this year.

“There is no target in the sea or in the air that is not within the range of Hezbollah’s precise missiles,” Nasrallah warned, as was reported by WIN. “If the extraction of gas from ‘Karish’ begins in September before Lebanon gets its rights, we will have a problem.”

WIN reported that Hezbollah also threatened to strike Karish when Energean’s rig arrived, and earlier this month it sent three UAVs, apparently to attack the sensitive site. The IDF shot down one drone with a missile from an F-16, and two were blasted by a frigate in the first combat use of the Israeli Navy’s Barak-8 missile system.

In response, Gantz said of Nasrallah, “If he challenges us, it will hurt them a lot. Our level of deterrence against Hezbollah and Lebanon is high, and Nasrallah understands this well. The Karish gas field is south of every line of dispute, and we have no reason to produce gas from there,” as was reported by Israel National News.

He made these remarks at a conference held in cooperation with Channel 13 News.

INN also reported that Gantz also commented on the Iranian issue and implicitly criticized, without mentioning their names, former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the head of the National Security Council, Eyal Hulata, when the latter revealed about two weeks ago in an interview with Channel 13 News that Israel has operated “quite a bit” in Iran, as he put it.

“I always prefer the deed to be done. I think we need to cut back on the chatter,” Gantz said. “We need to continue dealing with technology, dealing with its nuclear potential, dealing with Iran’s branches in the Middle East. I’m in favor of doing more and talking less. Where do we talk? As much as possible in closed rooms. I don’t judge the actions of others. I also appear in international forums and speak. My references are very measured. There is an alignment. Everyone chooses their own words later.”

On other pertinent matters, INN reported that Gantz said regarding the process of choosing a new Chief of Staff, “In the coming period, I will announce who the Chief of Staff will be. We have turned to [former Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, to set a meeting on the issue of appointing a Chief of Staff, and I hope he will respond positively.”

On the conflict with Russia, he said, “There is a delegation which is supposed to leave Russia and there is a possibility that the approvals will arrive soon, and then this entire issue will be behind us. Prime Minister Yair Lapid did not make a mistake, we are on Ukraine’s side. We sent them equipment which is not offensive.”

INN also reported that in terms of the upcoming elections in Israel, Gantz said, “It’s no secret that I want to be Prime Minister. From the moment I entered politics, Netanyahu has been unable to obtain 61. Then I took away half of his government because there was COVID-19. Then I allowed the government of change because I didn’t choose another alternative.”

“The elections will be over if Netanyahu does not have 61. The game will be reopened. People will recalculate and we will be the only alternative that can speak to all sectors. It will not happen without agreements, but we can reach agreements,” he said.

Gantz said he is proud of the union with the New Hope Party. “It’s a very appropriate union that represents the statesmanlike center and the statesmanlike right. Last time, too, they said I wouldn’t pass the electoral threshold and I ended up with eight seats. I’m very optimistic.”

Asked how many seats he would like to win, Gantz replied, “I believe that a double-digit number, as high as possible, is something that is achievable. Provided that you can talk to everyone. I believe that I can establish a broad, united, statesmanlike government that does not lean on the extremes.”

(Sources: Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Israel National News)

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