In a surprisingly open interview with Fox News on Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that Israel’s military is updating its operational plans for a potential future strike against Iranian nuclear sites.
Gantz’s interview with American television comes as Washington seems intent on resuming negotiations on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. Most of the Israeli government, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have opposed the deal, saying it doesn’t stop the Islamic Republic from getting nuclear weapons, something the Israelis have vowed to never allow to happen.
As for the JCPOA, on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the 2015 nuclear deal “cannot be renegotiated — period.”
“Let’s stop posturing,” he posted on Twitter “which we both did from 2003-2012 to no avail — and get down to implementing [the deal] which we both actually signed on to.”
The sticking point between Tehran and the Biden administration is the economic sanctions that the U.S. has levied. Iran says that before they agree to once again abide by the JCPOA, Washington must remove all economic sanctions. The American view is that Tehran must abide by the agreement before any sanctions are removed.
“We have [attack plans] in our hands, but we will continue to constantly improve them,” Gantz said. “The Iranian nuclear aspiration must be stopped. If the world stops them before, it’s very much good. But if not, we must stand independently and we must defend ourselves by ourselves.”
During the interview with Fox News, Gantz spoke about Iran’s plan to develop nuclear weapons, something Tehran has always denied. However, in 2018, Israeli Mossad agents were able to steal and transport to Tel Aviv a truckload of files that leave no doubt that the Iranians are indeed attempting to acquire nukes. “The Iranians are breaking everything that was agreed with them, they are bluffing,” he added.
Perhaps the most startling part of Gantz’s interview with Fox News was when he handed interviewer Trey Yingst a classified map that showed that the Iranian proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon has “hundreds of thousands of missiles” and said that the terror group is storing missiles and launch platforms within the civilian infrastructure.
While the map was blurred for television, it was a target list, according to Gantz who asked, “what is going to happen to Lebanon?”
“We are ready to fight,” he added.
Also on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Vice President Kamala Harris that Israel was totally committed to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons designed to destroy Israel. “I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, and so far, we’ve been successful,” Netanyahu said.
“But one thing I believe [Biden] understands and respects, is that as the prime minister of the one and only Jewish state, we are not going to let a bunch of ayatollahs wipe us out from the face of the earth or from the map of history,” said Netanyahu.