In the latest threat against Iran from an Israeli official, Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Sunday that a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program was still on the table for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).
“The IDF and Israel’s defense establishment are holding onto the option of taking action against Iran’s nuclear project if that is what has to be done,” Gantz told an Egyptian TV station.
Last week, IDF Chief of Staff Avi Kohavi said he ordered the military to draw up new plans to attack Iran and expressed his opposition to the Biden administration reviving the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
Both Kohavi and Gantz frame attacks on Iran as the last hope to stop the Islamic Republic from acquiring nuclear weapons. As evidence that Iran is racing towards a bomb, Israeli officials usually point to recent increases in Iran’s uranium enrichment.
Iran recently started enriching some uranium to 20 percent, which is still vastly lower than the 90 percent needed for weapons-grade. The increase in enrichment was required by a bill passed by Iran’s parliament. The bill was passed in reaction to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was killed in an apparent Israeli plot in November. So it was Israeli aggression that led to the increased enrichment.
While Israeli officials are against the JCPOA, a revival of the agreement would reduce Iran’s enrichment. Under the deal, Iran is agreed to keep enrichment levels at 3.67 percent. Since the US withdrew from the deal by reimposing sanctions in 2018, Iran is no longer bound by it. But Iranian officials have repeatedly said they are willing to come back into compliance if the Biden administration lifts sanctions.