On Wednesday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is preparing to take “action” against Iran’s nuclear program.
“The IDF is currently working to build up our forces and is preparing itself for any scenario, including one in which we would need to take action to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” Gantz said at a graduation ceremony for new IDF officers.
Gantz listed a series of steps Iran has taken recently to boost its civilian nuclear program as examples that the Islamic Republic is racing towards a bomb. But that is not the case, Tehran’s increased nuclear activity has a civilian purpose.
Iran’s recently increased some uranium enrichment to 20 percent and started to produce uranium metal to fuel the Tehran Research Reactor, a nuclear facility built by the US in the 1960s that can make medical isotopes.
If the Israelis are really concerned with Iran’s recent steps, a way to reverse them is a US return to the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. But instead, Israel opposes a revival of the agreement and continues to make threats against Iran.
Some Israeli officials have even directly threatened that if President Biden returns to the JCPOA, Israel will attack Iran. Other officials, like Gantz, have made more veiled warnings about Israel having to take “action.”
Gantz said that if a new agreement is signed with Iran, it must be stricter than the JCPOA and address Iran’s activity across the region. If not, Gantz warned, a nuclear arms race could start in the Middle East. Gantz’s comments ignore the fact that there is already a nuclear-armed country in the region, which is Israel.