By Arie Egozi
Tel Aviv. Israel has evidence that Iran is very close to a point where it can produce one nuclear weapon. This evidence may soon be presented to Washington. According to this data, the ongoing talks between the US and Iran on a new nuclear agreement, enabled Tehran to close a big gap and get very close to the bomb. “Iran is ten weeks from the point that will enable it to produce a nuclear bomb,” Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz said earlier this week.
Israeli experts say that the armed drones attack on the Israeli owned cargo ship has created a unified front against Iran. “This was a stupid act by Iran and the US has to take advantage of it and put heavier pressure on Tehran,” Major General (Ret.) Giora Eiland said. Eiland, is a former head of the Israeli National Security Council. In the Israeli defense forces (IDF), Eiland was the head of the Paratroopers and Infantry Corps in the rank of Brigadier General and then Head of Operations Division in Operations Directorate.
He added that the new president of Iran is exactly the type of man despised by the Biden administration as being responsible for very cruel acts against the people of Iran. “This alone should be a red flag to Washington. Adding to that the attack on the ship should create a unified front lead by the US that has to show a hard line in the nuclear talks with Iran.”
Israel has intensified its intelligence effort in Iran and yesterday declared that it has identified the commander of the Iranian made armed drones unit, that performed the deadly attack on an Israeli owned cargo ship in the Gulf.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced on Wednesday that Iran “is today only about ten weeks away from reaching fissile material that will allow it to develop a nuclear bomb.” He said this in a security briefing he conducted with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on the ambassadors of UN Security Council member states. “Iran has crossed all the lines defined in the previous nuclear deal,” Gantz added.
In a paper prepared last year by the Israeli institute for National Security Studies (INSS), the researchers write that from the moment of a breakout decision, Iran will be two years away from a bomb. “Since 2019 it has enriched uranium beyond what is allowed under the agreement and has already accumulated more than eight times as much material as allowed in the agreement.” Israel in recent months transferred to the US very detailed intelligence report proving that Iran is not complying with any of the existing nuclear agreement. Israel will try now in planned visits of Israeli minsters in Washington to convince Washington that Iran is on the threshold of a nuclear bomb.
Israel has identified the Iranian official in charge of operating the armed drones like the one that hit the Israeli owned ship last week. “This man should now be very worried” an Israeli source said.
Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yair Lapid, briefed ambassadors of UNSC member countries: “Saeed Ara Jani is the Head of the IRGC’s UAV Command. This is the man that is personally responsible for the terror attacks in the Gulf of Oman.” The briefing was done as part of the national effort of the State of Israel to call on the international community to condemn and stop Iranian terror and aggression in the region.
During the past week, Israel has acted in all the possible diplomatic and security channels in order to call on the international community to set clear boundaries for Iran and to cease its aggressive conduct. The Minister of Defense and Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasized to the ambassadors that Israel will maintain the right to act independently in the face of any attack or threat to its citizens and sovereignty. They further stressed that the recent attacks are not part of a local or bilateral conflict – rather that this is an attack on the international community, and that the community should treat it as such and respond. Such action requires unity within the international community and action may be taken through the UN Security Council or any other international framework that will hold Iran accountable for its actions.
Defense Minister, Benny Gantz said that Amir Ali Hajizadeh, Commander of the IRGC’s Air Force, is behind dozens of terror attacks in the region employing UAVs and missiles. “For the first time ever, I will also expose the man who is directly responsible for the launch of suicide UAVs – his name is Saeed Ara Jani and he is the Head of the IRGC’s UAV Command. The UAV command conducted the attack on Mercer Street. Saeed Ara Jani plans and provides the training and equipment to conduct terror attacks in the region.”
Gantz added that Iran has once again proven to be a global challenge, a regional challenge and also a challenge to the State of Israel. Iran is responsible for dozens of terror attacks across the Middle East, while controlling its proxies in Yemen, Iraq and additional countries. Iran has violated all of the guidelines set in the JCPOA and is only around 10 weeks away from acquiring weapons-grade materials necessary for a nuclear weapon. Now is the time for deeds – words are not enough. It is time for diplomatic, economic and even military deeds – otherwise the attacks will continue.
-The writer is an International Roving Correspondent of the publication.