IDF preparing new operational plans to deal with Iran’s nuclear threat

The IDF is preparing three alternative scenarios that will be presented to the government in the near future, the report said.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

The IDF is working on three new plans to deal with Iran’s nuclear program in the wake of Tehran’s recent violations and the possibility that incoming president Joe Biden will return the U.S. to the Iran nuclear deal, Israel Hayom reported on Thursday.

Against the background of progress in the Iranian nuclear program, the IDF is preparing three alternative scenarios that will be presented to the government in the near future, the report said.

Iranian government leaders say they want to return to the nuclear deal, but in the past weeks have ramped up the enrichment of uranium and accumulated assets that could allow it to shorten the time needed to produce an atomic bomb.

“Iran has made progress in recent years in the field of research and development, both in the accumulation of enriched material and in offensive capabilities, and it has a regime that really wants to reach nuclear weapons,” said Defense Minister Benny Gantz, himself a former IDF chief of staff.

“It is clear that Israel needs to have a military option in front of it. It requires resources and investment, and I am working to make that happen,” he said.

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The IDF has already clarified that the preparation of military options requires billions of shekels that are in addition to the current defense budget, the report noted.

Iran’s decision to begin enriching to 20% a decade ago nearly brought an Israeli strike targeting its nuclear facilities and last week Tehran announced it was again resuming enrichment to 20% in direct violation of the Iran nuclear deal.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the U.S.-educated head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, a supposedly “civilian” body, said “We are like soldiers and our fingers are on the triggers.

As part of its activities that deviate from the nuclear deal, Iran has accumulated about three tons of low-level enriched uranium, as well as installed advanced centrifuges at its nuclear facilities. Its most recent breach of the accords came Wednesday, when it announced it was producing uranium metal-based fuel for a research reactor.

Uranium metal can be used in the core of a nuclear bomb and the deal imposes a 15-year ban on Iran producing or acquiring it.

In Israel, it is believed that this activity is intended to “accumulate assets” ahead of the expected negotiations with the Biden administration, which has already made it clear that it intends to return to the nuclear agreement despite fierce opposition from Israel.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also intends to appoint a special task force to coordinate on the Iran nuclear issue, with the leading candidate to head it being the current head of the Mossad, Yossi Cohen, who would take on the role immediately after his term ends in June.

Israel wants a future agreement with Iran to include a longer period of oversight of its nuclear programs, as well as restrictions on nuclear research and development, the development and production of ballistic missiles and its terrorist activities in the region.

Iran has already made it clear that it will oppose this and demands the immediate lifting of sanctions before any return to the nuclear deal.