Photo Credit: MoD
Defense Minister Benny Gantz and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Dec. 2021

A senior Israeli security source said that the Americans have been informed that Defense Minister Benny Gantz has directed the IDF’s chief of staff to prepare for a military attack on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

The security source added that it would be much better for the Americans to act against Iran, but this possibility seems far away at this time.

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This dramatic statement, which was carried by the entire Israeli media over the weekend, was published as Gantz is in the US for meetings with the country’s top defense and diplomatic officials.

Gantz met on Friday with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and “touched on challenges and opportunities of common strategic importance, including the growing threat of Iranian nuclear and hegemonic aspirations vis-a-vis opportunities to expand peace and normalization in the region.”

The two “emphasized that while the threats to our security and our way of life continue to increase around us, one thing remains constant – the unbreakable bond between the US and Israel.”

Similarly, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke with Blinken in what Lapid’s office described as a “warm, productive, and open” conversation.

The conversation touched on “joint efforts to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state”, and “expanding the circle of peace.”

“Even if there is a return to negotiations, sanctions on Iran must not be lifted. The money the Iranians will receive will reach our doorstep in the form of terrorism and missiles,” Lapid told Blinken.

Gantz stated before taking off for Washington DC on Wednesday night that he is leaving for meetings that “will discuss ways to preserve Israel’s security supremacy in the region and security challenges, including dealing with Iranian aggression.”

“Iran is a threat to world peace, to the region, and seeks to become an existential threat to Israel. In the discussions, we will highlight the possible courses of action to ensure that its attempt to reach the nuclear sphere and thus expand its activities in the region is stopped,” he stated.

His visit to Washington comes after Mossad Chief David Barne’a was in Washington earlier last week, reportedly to present the Americans with the most updated intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Joint Commission met in Vienna, Austria, last week with members of the G4 +1 group and the European Union to discuss the lifting of sanctions on Iran, with no apparent results or agreements.

The Biden administration is seeking to reengage Tehran in talks on a new nuclear agreement, while Europe is seeking to salvage the one signed in 2015, which the US under Donald Trump left.

Washington currently appears to be skeptical of the prospects of such a development.

President Isaac Herzog told US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides last Sunday that Israel is “closely following the international community’s recent negotiations with Iran. Israel will welcome a comprehensive, diplomatic solution which permanently solves the Iranian nuclear threat.”

Nevertheless, “Israel is keeping all options on the table and it must be said that if the international community does not take a vigorous stance on this issue—Israel will do so. Israel will protect itself,” he warned.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.