The Jewish state has a “moral obligation” to prepare a viable military-strike option targeting Iran’s nuclear sites if diplomacy fails, said the Israeli military chief of staff on Sunday.
Diplomatic efforts to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons could fail, Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said.
“Preparing the home front for war is a task that must be accelerated in the coming years, especially in light of the possibility that we will be required to act against the nuclear threat,” he stressed. “The IDF continues to prepare vigorously for an attack on Iran and must prepare for every development and every scenario.”
Kochavi added that a potential Iran strike was “at the center” of the Israeli military’s strategic preparedness, a complex effort that combines “a variety of operational plans, the allocation of many resources, the acquisition of appropriate weapons, intelligence and training.”
The Israeli military chief’s statement comes amid growing international concern that diplomatic efforts might not revive an effective nuclear agreement with Iran. In June, the Israeli Air Force conducted a large military drill that simulated a military strike on Iran’s nuclear sites.
Meanwhile, the Jewish state is intensifying its efforts to build robust military ties with friendly Arab states.
On Monday, Kochavi made the first-ever official visit by an Israeli army chief to Morocco. Following the establishment of full diplomatic relations in December 2020, Morocco and Israel have been developing close military ties that include intelligence-sharing and military cooperation.
In a candid Al Jazeera interview on Sunday, Kamal Kharrazi, a senior advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, revealed that Iran is already capable of building a nuclear bomb.
“In a few days, we were able to enrich uranium up to 60% and we can easily produce 90%-enriched uranium. ... Iran has the technical means to produce a nuclear bomb but there has been no decision by Iran to build one,” Kharrazi told Al Jazeera.
Whether true or not, such a candid statement from a senior Iranian official likely will lead to even higher tensions in the combustible Middle East region. The stakes are especially high for the Jewish state given the Islamic regime’s repeated threats to wipe Israel off the map.
Tehran’s admission that it is capable of building a nuclear bomb marked the conclusion of U.S. President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, Washington’s two key regional allies.
The senior Iranian official accused Washington of undermining any prospects of reviving the original nuclear agreement.
“The United States has not provided guarantees on preserving the nuclear deal and this ruins the possibility of any agreement,” Kharrazi said.
The ayatollah’s advisor issued a direct warning to Israel and any other regional players that might be contemplating a military strike against Iran’s nuclear sites.
“Any targeting of our security from neighboring countries will be met with a direct response to these countries and Israel,” Kharrazi warned.
While Iran remains Israel’s main strategic threat, Jerusalem is simultaneously addressing the next-door challenge of Hamas, an Iranian-backed terrorist organization, that has a long history of threatening and attacking Israel.
In an aerial strike in Gaza on Saturday, the Israeli military reportedly succeeded to destroy a subterranean target that was “one of the largest and most important sites in the Strip for the production of base materials for rockets.”
The IAF strike was in response to recent Hamas rocket attacks against Israel.
According to IDF spokesperson Ran Kochav, the targeted site had also been used in the development of drones.
“In this specific case, [the IDF struck] 16 tons of explosives in an underground UAV production hall and facility,” Kochav told Ynet.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.