Gantz: Iran accumulated 40 kg of 60% enriched uranium in past year

The defense minister warned that Iran continues to hide its nuclear program underground, adding that “we’re in a war against time.”

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid held a briefing last week for 80 foreign ambassadors stationed in Israel, against the background of the wave of terrorism, the Iranian threat and the remerging nuclear deal, and other issues on the agenda.

Lapid presented the ambassadors with an overview of the recent “Negev Summit” hosted by Israel and the regional cooperation in the fields of security and the economy. He emphasized the steps that Israel is taking to enable religious freedom during the holidays.

Lapid also provided the ambassadors with information about the humanitarian aid Israel is providing to Ukraine and reiterated Israel’s “condemnation of the Russian invasion and war crimes we have been exposed to in recent days.”

Ganz discussed the development of the Iranian threat and exposed the fact that since August, the last time such a briefing took place, Iran has enlarged its stockpile of enriched 60% Uranium from 10 kg to 50 kg.

Iran is creating weapons-grade materials by enriching uranium at 60%. Only countries developing bombs reach this high level. There is no civilian use for uranium enriched to 60%. Uranium enriched to 60% can quickly be enriched further to 90%, the level required to build an atomic bomb.

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He warned that Iran continues to hide its nuclear program underground.

“We are in a race against time. We want a good agreement, an agreement that has no expiration date which gives Iran legitimacy to advance its nuclear program following that date, with extensive oversight anywhere and anytime and oversight of the ballistic missiles that Iran is developing,” he stated.

“It is important to remember – there is no vacuum and if there is no agreement, Plan B must be used – to use force, to exert economic pressure, to exert political pressure,” he added.

Iran and western powers are reportedly very close to signing a new nuclear deal, one which Israel has warned is only for a short time period and is essentially useless.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Monday that his country will return to the negotiations in Vienna only to finalize an agreement, but not for further negotiations.

“At the moment, we do not yet have a definitive answer from Washington,” Khatibzadeh said. “If Washington answers the outstanding questions, we can go to Vienna as soon as possible.”

U.S. State Department spokesperson told reporters on Monday that the “only long-term proposition that is acceptable to us is the fact that Iran must never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon. As I said before, we continue to believe that the best means to achieve that right now is through a mutual return to compliance with the Iran deal.”

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However, he warned that “eventually that will no longer be the case when the Iranian nuclear program goes beyond the point at which the JCPOA would still work to our advantage.”