Israeli PM Naftali Bennett, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. -Gen. Aviv Kohavi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz at a situation assessment tour at the Gaza Division, August 17, 2021. (GPO)

September 1, 2021

With negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program stalled, Israel is working to strengthen its capabilities against the Islamic Republic, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Monday.
“We are allocating resources to strengthen our capabilities in the face of the challenges in the region, especially Iran,” he told military reporters.
Gantz’s comments came hours after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett landed back in Israel following his first meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington. Iran was a central topic of the meeting between the two leaders.
Following the meeting, Biden pledged that the US is committed to ensuring that Iran would never develop nuclear weapons but “if diplomacy fails, we’re ready to turn to other options.”
Though Washington continues on the diplomatic path hoping to bring Tehran to sign a new deal, the Americans are fully aware of Jerusalem’s concerns of a future deal.
Though the US and Israel share intelligence – and cooperation between the two allies is increasing following Israel’s move to CENTCOM’s area of responsibility – Gantz said that if there is no deal, “we are working to define what Plan B is and start other actions as President Biden said.”
According to Gantz, a nuclear Iran would lead to a regional arms race that would be a danger to the entire world.
“If Iran reaches a nuclear threshold, I have no doubt that many countries will also try to acquire this capability and it will lead to an arms race that will endanger many countries in the world and not just the Middle East.”
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi also told reporters last week that Israel’s military is accelerating its operational plans against Iran due to the progress of its nuclear program.
“The progress of the Iranian nuclear program has led the IDF to accelerate its operational plans and [a good part of] the recently approved defense budget is earmarked for that,” he said.
WITH NO diplomatic options likely to push Tehran to stop its nuclear program, Israel’s military believes that the Islamic Republic needs to be aware that should it continue with the program, it will face harsher sanctions and a true military option to stop it.
The NIS 58 billion defense budget set for the IDF in the coming year is expected to allow the Israeli military to focus on the threats posed by Iran across the region, with some NIS 3.5 billion designated specifically for this.
Israel considers Iran’s nuclear program as its number one concern. Although it has consistently denied seeking to build a nuclear bomb, tensions have risen as the West seeks to resume talks on reviving the deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.
Turning to Lebanon, Gantz said that the defense establishment is preparing for conflict with Hezbollah along with other fronts simultaneously.
“The humanitarian situation in Lebanon is very disturbing, but so is Hezbollah’s intensification,” he said. “We are preparing for conflict in the northern arena as well as for a situation where we are fighting on two fronts in the North and South.”
The Jerusalem Post 

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.