Israeli Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, wrapped up his two-day visit to the US, where he traveled in order to present Israel’s case against the resurrection of the Iran nuclear deal and make another last-minute attempt to stop this from happening, or at least make some necessary alterations.
On Friday, Gantz met with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and discussed with him the looming agreement parties as well as the need to strengthen defense cooperation between Israel, the US and other countries in region.
Minister Gantz told Advisor Sullivan that the State of Israel opposes the nuclear agreement, as it was presented to relevant parties, and emphasized several elements that are critical to the purpose of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He also emphasized the importance of maintaining and advancing operational capabilities for both defensive and offensive purposes in face of Iran’s nuclear program as well as its regional aggression – regardless of the discussion surrounding the agreement.
“Iran has gained knowledge, infrastructure and capabilities – much of which is irreversible,” said Gantz to the directors of leading think tanks in Washington, with whom he spoke following his meeting with Sullivan.
“This will enable Iran to further expand its nuclear program during the period of an agreement that would have fewer restrictions. Iran would be able to acquire a nuclear weapon when said agreement would end in 2031,” he added.
Gantz spoke about the production of thousands of advanced centrifuges, saying that if they are not stored or destroyed, they will be readily available for enrichment once the agreement comes to an end, or in the case in which Iran chooses to withdraw from the agreement. In addition, he spoked about the new advanced cascade at Fordow site, where Iran could enrich to 90% within a matter of weeks.
“The common goal of Israel and the U.S. is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and the way to do so is to take Iran back and to deter it, said Gantz. “Improvements are necessary in the nuclear agreement in discussion – with an emphasis on the ‘sunset’ clause.”
As during his meeting with Sullivan, here to Gantz emphasized that “Israel will continue to take action [to ensure the security of the State of Israel] regardless of any developments and to prevent Iran from achieving regional hegemony. Israel will continue to strengthen its military superiority.”
Regarding Iran’s regional proxies, Gantz said that it “provides over a billion USD to its proxies in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and Gaza. Hezbollah, which harms Lebanon and threatens Israel, receives over half a billion USD per year. Iran also provides over 100 million USD per year to Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza. As such, regardless of any future scenarios, action must be taken against Iranian proxies, which threaten the entire Middle East region.”
Before traveling to DC, Gantz also toured CENTCOM’s headquarters in Tampa, Florida, where he met with its commander, General Michael E. Kurilla.