IDF chief warns Israel won’t accept return to Iran nuclear deal, offensive military options on table

In an almost direct message to the Biden administration, Israel’s top soldier says a return to the existing Iran nuclear deal is not acceptable.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The head of the IDF warned Tuesday that Israel would not accept a direct return to the Iran nuclear deal and that the military was preparing contingency plans in case the Iranians moved closer to producing a nuclear weapon.

“Today, nobody doubts Iran aspired, indicated, wanted and built the ability in order to become a nuclear military state country, and maybe to make use of it the moment a decision would be taken,” Kochavi said in a video address to the annual conference of the Institute for National Securities Studies at Tel Aviv University.

Kochavi noted that Iran has already broken the 2015 nuclear deal and is enriching uranium to levels far beyond what is permitted. The breakout time to producing an atomic bomb is not a matter of mere months or even weeks. Earlier this month Iran announced that it was enriching uranium to 20% purity, a step closer to weapons grade material.

“We saw recently with the change of administration in the United States, and the Iranians announced already that they want to return to the previous agreement,” Kochavi said.

“I want to give you my position,” Kochavi said, adding that he has told the same thing to colleagues around the world. “A return to the nuclear agreement of 2015, even if it is a similar agreement with improvements, is a bad thing and not right. It is a bad thing operationally and it is a bad thing strategically.”

Kochavi said such an agreement would still allow Iran to enrich uranium and produce more advanced centrifuges to do so faster.

“Strategically, it is terrible because it will create an insufferable threat to the State of Israel and will drag, apparently, regional nuclearization of the Middle East,” he warned.

In the face of the Iranian nuclear threat, Kochavi said the IDF was preparing its options accordingly.

“Iran can decide that it wants to advance to a bomb, either covertly or in a provocative way. In light of this basic analysis, I have ordered the IDF to prepare a number of operational plans, in addition to the existing ones. We are studying these plans and we will develop them over the next year,” Kohavi said.

“The power to initiate them lies with the political echelon. However, the offensive options need to be prepared, ready and on the table,” Kochavi noted.