IDF chief warns Iran still seeking nuclear weapons

Army Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot says that despite the 2015 accord, Iran still plans to build nuclear weapons.  

By: Steve Leibowitz, World Israel News

IDF Chief of Staff Brig. General Gadi Eisenkot says Tehran still intends to develop atomic weapons, despite the 2015 accord with world powers. Speaking to bereaved families of fallen soldiers, Eisenkot said Tuesday, “The Iranian threat is not theoretical. The intent and desire to reach nuclear capability exists, despite the deal.” Israeli experts closely monitoring the Iranian issue completely agree with Eisenkot.

Former Director General of the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs and head of the Research Division of IDF Military Intelligence Brig. General (Res.) Yossi Cooperwasser told World Israel News (WIN), “Eisenkot is 100 percent correct. Iran still strives to become a regional power and then world power and to do that they need nuclear weapons. They believe it’s a tool to impose its will in the Middle East.”

Cooperwasser said that the way to pressure Iran to back down is by targeting their strategic economic interests. “We saw in the past that the Iranians will do anything to survive as a regime. That was achieved when there were real economic sanctions in place, and that is what got them to the negotiating table in 2012,” said Cooperwasser.

According to Cooperwasser, “Conditions were right to get a good deal, but President Obama played his cards terribly and failed to take the interests of the free world into account and played into the Iranians hands. The US was afraid of confrontation with Iran and appeasement won out.”

Cooperwasser told WIN, “President Trump understood that a new approach was needed. He is willing to wait an additional four months, but made it clear that eventually the deal must be fixed or nixed. Otherwise, Iran will eventually have a nuclear arsenal.”

Dr. Eran Lerman from the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies told WIN, “Iran’s commitment to nuclear weapons was never in question. It has always been a military project and there is no doubt they intend to develop it. Even when they entered talks with the world powers it remained clear to all involved what their goal is.”

According to Lerman, “Now that President Trump has drawn a line demanding that the deal be ‘fixed,’ there is a process ahead before his words can be translated into international action. If Trump’s demands gain momentum, the Iranians could be forced to take stock of its position. But that will only happen if the international community responds to Trumps challenge.”

Last week President Donald Trump declared that Washington would withdraw from the accord this year unless its terms were changed. The President signed a waiver on Friday keeping the Iran nuclear deal alive for the moment, but said it would be the last time he did so unless Congress and European countries heeded his call to strengthen the deal.

Trump’s conditions include increased inspections, with no expiration date. Currently inspections would expire after a decade. Trump is also demanding that restrictions on Iran’s long range missile program be incorporated into the agreement. The ultimatum puts pressure on the EU, which was a key backer of the 2015 international agreement, to curb Iran’s nuclear program.