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Israelis plan military buildup to counter ‘Iran arming itself with a nuclear weapon’


Iran’s burgeoning nuclear weapons threat is spurring Israeli leaders to counter with their own military expansion, according to the Jewish state’s top defense official.

“Against the greatest threat, Iran arming itself with a nuclear weapon, we have no choice but to expand our force buildup, to continue to rely on our human capital, and to adapt our capabilities and our plans,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz told Israeli National Defense College graduates.

President Joe Biden’s administration is attempting to curtail the Iranian nuclear threat through negotiations to rehabilitate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Those “indirect talks” have stalled after six rounds that failed to produce a breakthrough agreement, as regime officials now are in the midst of a transition from outgoing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is being replaced by the hard-line judiciary chief, Ebrahim Raisi, who was declared the winner of the latest presidential elections.

“They are not prepared to come back before the new government,” a diplomatic source told Reuters. “We are now talking probably not before mid-August.”

IRANIAN PRESIDENT-ELECT SAYS HE WILL NOT MEET WITH BIDEN OR NEGOTIATE NUCLEAR PROGRAM

That report coincided with Rouhani’s statement that the regime could use a “peaceful” program to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels.

“Even if one day there is a need for 90% enrichment for a reactor, we do not have any problem, and we are able,” Rouhani said Wednesday per state media. “We can do anything in the peaceful path.”

In parallel, U.S. investigators disrupted an Iranian plot to kidnap Iranian American journalist Masih Alinejad, an advocate for the rights of Iranian women. Justice Department officials unveiled the indictment on Tuesday that accused an Iranian intelligence officer of plotting to seize Alinejad from Brooklyn and bring her back to Tehran.

“Iran’s brazen attempt to kidnap an American journalist on U.S. soil is appalling and demonstrates just how little regard the Iranian regime has for ongoing negotiations,” Idaho Sen. James Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Wednesday. “I remain deeply concerned with the administration’s inability to address the Iranian challenge. In light of all that is happening and the long list of Iranian offenses, it’s time for the administration to suspend the ongoing indirect negotiations with the Iranians.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s team argues that such threats from Iran necessitate the restoration of the nuclear deal, which advocates of the pact credit with defusing a nuclear crisis in the region.

“Every challenge we face with Iran is made more difficult, made more intractable, when Iran’s nuclear program is uncontrolled, when it is unconstrained,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters Wednesday. “Ever since the U.S. withdrew from the [2015 Iran nuclear deal], none of the challenges we have with Iran — and again, they are many — have gotten better. And, in fact, most of them have gotten worse.”

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Israeli officials, however, harbor major misgivings about the U.S. approach to the nuclear problem, having long argued that the 2015 pact provided insufficient protection.

“All of these threats demand that we speed up and increase our preparedness to carry out our mission with an iron wall of action and not to get by with just words,” Gantz said.

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Tags: News, Foreign Policy, National Security, Iran, Iran Nuclear Deal, Iran Nuclear Program, Israel, Antony Blinken

Original Author: Joel Gehrke

Original Location: Israelis plan military buildup to counter ‘Iran arming itself with a nuclear weapon’



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