The Israeli military said Wednesday that it is developing more plans to strike Iran as Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is visiting Washington.
Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi told reporters that the Israeli military is speeding up its “operational plans” against Iran. He said that Israel’s recently approved military budget had funds for the IDF to expand its capabilities against Iran.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz issued a similar threat on Wednesday. “The State of Israel has the means to act and will not hesitate to do so. I do not rule out the possibility that Israel will have to take action in the future in order to prevent a nuclear Iran,” Gantz said.
Both Kohavi and Gantz claim Iran is trying to develop a nuclear bomb, but this is not the case. The Israelis point to recent increases in uranium enrichment as evidence that Iran is racing towards a bomb. But Tehran only took these steps in response to Israeli covert attacks against its nuclear program. In an interview with The New York Times on Tuesday, Bennett said he would continue these covert attacks, setting a hardline tone before meetings with US officials.
Iran is currently enriching some uranium at 60 percent, which is still less than the 90 percent needed for weapons-grade. If the Israelis really wanted to constrain Iran’s nuclear program, they would favor a revival of the Iran nuclear deal, which caps uranium enrichment at 3.67 percent. But Bennett said he is opposed to any US efforts to revive the agreement.
Bennett met with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday. Both US officials pledged their support for Israel. Austin told Bennett that the Pentagon is “committed” to ensuring Israel can “defend itself” from Iran.
“The administration remains committed to Israel’s security and right to self-defense. That is unwavering, it is steadfast and it is ironclad,” Austin said.
Bennett is scheduled to meet with President Biden on Thursday. The Israeli leader said he would deliver a new “strategic vision” on how to deal with Iran that does not include a revival of the nuclear deal.