The defense minister made the comments as the Vienna negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program are at the “final stage.”
By Sharon Wrobel, The Algemeiner
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Tuesday illustrated how Iran provides precision-guided munition and know-how to Venezuela to produce advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
In an address to the Conference of Presidents in Jerusalem, Gantz presented Jewish leaders with a photograph of an Iranian Mohajer UAV being presented by Venezuela’s President.
“In addition to developing Iranian UAVs in Venezuela, our assessments show that Iranian PGMs [precision-guided missiles] are being delivered for these UAVs and other similar models,” Gantz disclosed. “This highlights that Iran truly is a global and regional challenge and not just a threat to the State of Israel.
Gantz cautioned that in meetings with “partners from around the world, including African and Latin American partners — I heard extreme concern about Iranian support for terrorism.”
The defense head made the comments as Russian and European parties to the negotiations in Vienna over Iran’s nuclear program indicated that the talks to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) were at the “final stage.”
Indirect negotiations between Iran, the US and world powers for a return to the nuclear deal, which have been ongoing for the past 10 months are about to “cross the finish line,” tweeted Russian envoy Mikhail Ulyanov, citing a meeting with EU Coordinator Enrique Mora.
“Iran strives to be a hegemon. Its nuclear program is just one part of it,” Gantz said Tuesday. “A nuclear deal, if signed with Iran, does not mark the end of the road. It opens the door to important action that must be taken [including] stopping the development of ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.”
“We need to have offensive capabilities and a set of sanctions ready in our back pockets in case Iran violates in a future agreement,” he maintained.
Gantz also asserted that during the period the JCPoA was in place, Iran increased its security budget by 50 percent.
“We must deal with Iranian aggression and support for proxies and ensure that their ‘so-called’ security budget isn’t increased and money isn’t poured into terrorism,” he warned.