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Defense Minister Beny Gantz warned Tuesday during a lecture at Reichman University in Herzliya that the cost of eliminating the Iranian challenge is “higher than it was a year ago and lower than it will be a year from now.” He also warned the Persian regime against transferring advanced weapons to the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah.
The dialogue in Vienna to revive the 2015 nuclear deal is moribund. Since 2018, Iran has stepped up its nuclear work, while insisting on its peaceful purposes. Obviously, no one believes it.
Israel reported that two Iranian drones were shot down over Iraq in February. They were intended to reach criminal groups in Gaza or the Palestinian Autonomy (PA) in the West Bank. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard launched drones from Iran itself into Israel; both had parachutes attached, intended to be picked up by terrorist groups. The Israeli Army intercepted at least four other drones in April and May.
Gantz warned that Tehran is weeks away from accumulating enough material to build the bomb. It is also working to install 1,000 advanced IR6 centrifuges, which enrich uranium, at a new subway site near Natanz. It estimates that it will soon have enough for its first atomic weapon with 60 kg of 60 % enriched material. In addition, it produces uranium metal enriched to 20 %, and prevents the IAEA from accessing its facilities.
With or without Biden’s support
Last month, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency confirmed that Iran had established a new centrifuge parts workshop. Natanz includes subway facilities under 7.6 meters of concrete, which offer protection —though not total— against airstrikes. It is one of the sites monitored by the IAEA, following the nuclear deal with world powers. The facility, part of the Iranian nuclear program, is known as the central base for uranium enrichment. It has more than 19,000 operating centrifuges, half of them fueled with uranium hexafluoride.
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said the machines were moved from Karaj, near Tehran, to a new location three stories underground. The centrifuge facility at Karaj was the target of several sabotages, and Natanz has been the target of attacks that Iran attributed to Israel.
The amount of strategic weaponry in the hands of pro-Iranian terrorists has increased significantly in the last year. Hundreds of munitions are in Iraq, and dozens have been added in 2022.
Israeli attacks on Iranian caravans carrying weapons have continued in Syrian airspace, largely controlled by Russia, even as ties with Moscow have cooled of late. Minister Gantz warned that Iran’s attempts to transfer “precise munitions” to its allies, including through Syria, continue. “Israel will continue to stop these efforts and prevent the threat to its citizens and regional peace, he explained, days after an airstrike in the Syrian area of Masjaf —against Hezbollah terrorists— destroyed an Iranian weapons depot and trucks for their transport.
Senior Air Force officials confirmed that Israel is working with countries in the region to counter threats from Iran, namely drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles.
This Wednesday Benny Gantz traveled to Washington to meet with his American counterpart. The Iranian threat is the central theme of the meeting. They will discuss strengthening joint security cooperation and addressing regional challenges, including Iran, against which all moderate actors in the Middle East are united.
Gantz will also discuss with Austin and Sullivan the war in Ukraine, and the risks involved in Israel’s strategic coordination with Russia in Syria. The two countries cooperate to carry out bombings, despite being on opposite sides.
According to Gantz’s schedule, he will arrive in Washington and meet first with Sullivan at the White House; and on Thursday with Lloyd at the Pentagon.
On Thursday afternoon he will leave for Miami to participate in an event with families of Israeli military personnel killed on active duty; and on Sunday he will fly to New York, where he will participate in the city’s annual parade in honor of the Jewish state.
Jerusalem has repeatedly said it will prevent, with or without the support of the Biden administration, the Iranian dictatorship from possessing atomic weapons. Let us not forget that Tehran, which does not even have borders with the Hebrew state, has announced its intention to “wipe Israel off the map.” But this fanatical hatred does not allow the ayatollahs to understand that they are facing a power far superior to their own.
Eduardo Zalovich, Uruguayan-Israeli, is a history professor and journalist. He has written for several media, such as La Vanguardia, El Confidencial, Vozpopuli, Búsqueda and Correo de los Viernes. Zalovich analyzes, from the Middle East, the reality of the region and international politics. // Eduardo Zalovich, uruguayo-israelí, es profesor de Historia y periodista. Ha escrito para varios medios, como La Vanguardia, El Confidencial, Vozpopuli, Búsqueda y Correo de los Viernes. Analiza, desde el Medio Oriente, la realidad de la zona y la política internacional.