In wake of several mysterious explosions in Iran, Defense Minister Gantz says not everything has “to do with us.”
By Paul Shindman, World Israel New
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz denied Israel was behind the explosions that have rocked Iran’s missile and nuclear sites in recent days, in an interview with Army Radio on Sunday.
“Not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us,” he said.
“All those systems are complex, they have very high safety constraints and I’m not sure they always know how to maintain them,” said Gantz, who is due to take over as prime minister as part of a power-sharing agreement between his Blue and White party and Likud.
“We continue to act on all fronts to reduce the possibility that Iran will become a nuclear power – and we will continue to do this part of protecting our security,” Gantz said.
“A nuclear Iran is a threat to the world and the region, as well as a threat to Israel. And we will do everything to prevent that from happening. We will do everything possible to prevent Iran from spreading terror and weapons, but I do not refer to any individual event,” he said.
Similarly, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi brushed off Iranian accusations of Israeli involvement in the explosion last week at an Iranian nuclear site, saying even if Israel was involved any actions are “better left unsaid.”
Ashkenazi spoke at a conference marking a decade since Israel joined the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), saying Israel’s policy towards Iran has been consistent for years, no matter which government is in power in Jerusalem, the Maariv newspaper reported.
“The policy towards Iran is long-term and cross-governmental, and Iran cannot be allowed to have nuclear capabilities,” Ashkenazi said.
“The problem of Iran is not just its desire to obtain nuclear weapons but also Hezbollah,” the minister said, referring to the Lebanese terror organization funded and armed by Iran.
“[T]his must be stopped and it is the Foreign Ministry’s task to make a large-scale political effort worldwide to prevent it,” he said.
Questioned about Iranian allegations that Israel was involved in the recent mysterious explosion at its Natanz nuclear facility, Ashkenazi reverted to Israel’s old strategy of neither confirming nor denying any involvement.
“This [Iranian] regime with those abilities is an existential threat to Israel … we take actions that are better left unsaid,” Ashkenazi said in a quote reported by The Jerusalem Post.
Ashkenazi also spoke about the importance of President Trump’s peace deal and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s desire to apply Israeli sovereignty to settlements in Judea and Samaria.
“We think the Trump program represents an opportunity, for the first time, to address the two biggest concerns of Israelis: how to preserve national security and how to preserve the national majority,” Ashkenazi said.
The foreign minister noted that Netanyahu had missed a July 1 target date to begin applying sovereignty and cautioned against any unilateral Israeli steps.
“Nothing was sacred on July 1, except Israel and its residents’ security,” Ashkenazi said, adding that Israel should first fully assess the implications before making any decision on sovereignty.