During a briefing in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told 60 ambassadors and foreign diplomats that Iran is two months away from acquiring the materials necessary for a nuclear weapon.
Gantz urged the international community to prepare a "plan B" to stop the Iranian regime’s race towards acquiring a nuclear bomb.
"We do not know if the Iranian regime will be willing to sign an agreement and come back to the negotiation table and the international community must build a viable 'plan B' in order to stop Iran in its tracks towards a nuclear weapon," said Gantz.
The Israeli government has recently increased its diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. In early August, Gantz warned that Iran is only 10 weeks from amassing enough weapons-grade material for a nuclear bomb.
The renewed warnings from the Israeli defense minister comes ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s upcoming meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington on Thursday.
Unlike former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Bennett government has focused more on coordination and cooperation with Washington on the Iranian nuclear threat. However, Jerusalem views the Iranian threat with much more urgency than Washington does, due to the Iranian regime’s explicit and repeated threats to wipe the Jewish state off the map.
“Iran has the intention to destroy Israel and is working on developing the means to do so,” Gantz told the international diplomats in Tel Aviv.
The Biden administration appears to support reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, the Israeli government increasingly views the controversial deal as irrelevant and outdated.
Gantz stressed that Israel prefers a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear threat.
"At the end of the day, the goal is to reach a ‘longer, stronger and broader’ agreement than the previous one. An Iranian nuclear program could incite an arms race in the region and the entire world," Gantz said.
However, the Israeli defense minister hinted that Jerusalem would not rule out military action if all other options fail.
"The State of Israel has the means to act and will not hesitate to do so – I do not rule out the possibility that Israel will have to take action in the future in order to prevent a nuclear Iran," Gantz declared.
The Israeli defense minister reminded the international audience of Iran’s recent lethal attack against the commercial vessel Mercer Street, which claimed the lives of the ship’s Romanian captain and a British crew member.
"Our assessment is that the UAV employed in the Mercer Street attack was launched from Iranian territory and approved by Iranian leadership," Gantz said.
Gantz told the international community that despite international sanctions, Iran’s regime has more than doubled its military investments over the last five years from $22 billion to $49 billion.
Gantz also addressed the destabilizing activities of Iran and its terrorist proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon
“Every couple of houses in Lebanon are used to store thousands of rockets and missiles. Iran and Hezbollah are exploiting the crisis in Lebanon and are undermining the Lebanese government," said Gantz.
During his briefing, Gantz stressed that a nuclear-armed Iran would be able to dramatically escalate its already considerable aggression throughout the Middle East.
“All of Iran’s acts of aggression thus far have been conducted without nuclear capabilities. Imagine what will happen if Iran achieves nuclear capabilities?” Gantz asked rhetorically.
While Gantz and Bennett are working on the diplomatic front, the Israel Defense Forces is reportedly speeding up its preparations for a potential military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in case diplomacy fails to stop the ayatollah regime’s race toward acquiring nuclear weapons.
IDF’s Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi briefed military correspondents on the Iranian threat.
“The progress in the Iranian nuclear program has led the IDF to speed up its operational plans, and the defense budget that was recently approved is meant to address this,” Kochavi said.
Israel is so far the only country in the world that has neutralized nuclear facilities of hostile nations. In 1981, the Israeli Air Force bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor Osirak after Saddam Hussein threatened to wipe Israel off the map. In 2007, Israel bombed Syria’s secret nuclear reactor after the former Bush administration refused to take action.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.