(JNS) Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Iran “stands just a few weeks away from accumulating fissile material that will be sufficient for a first bomb, holds 60 kilograms of enriched material at 60%, produces metallic uranium at the enrichment level of 20% and prevents the IAEA from accessing its facilities.”
During a speech at the “New Global Order: Implications for Israel” conference held by the Institute of Policy and Strategy at Reichman University, Gantz also cautioned that “Iran continues to accumulate irreversible knowledge and experience in the development, research, production and operation of advanced centrifuges.”
Right now, Iran is making an effort to complete the production and installation of 1,000 advanced IR6 centrifuges at its nuclear facilities, including a new facility being built at an underground site near Natanz.
Gantz also confirmed earlier media reports that back in February, two Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles intercepted over Iraq were on the way to deliver weapons to Palestinian terror factions in Judea and Samaria or the Gaza Strip. According to reports from the time, U.S. Air Force jets intercepted the UAVs.
“One of the lessons of the war in Ukraine is that it is right to exercise economic, political, and if necessary, military force as early as possible and perhaps in this way to prevent wars,” said Gantz. “Today, the price for tackling the Iranian challenge on the global and regional levels are higher than they were a year ago and lower than they will be within a year,” he said.
Amos Hochstein, a senior adviser to U.S. President Joe Biden on international energy, also addressed the conference and discussed Biden’s upcoming visit to Israel. He said the president is coming to assure the people of Israel and the United States of the continuation of the strong relationship between the two countries “on security, strategic issues and regional matters.”
He also spoke about the importance of expanding U.S. and Israeli ties, especially in how it pertains to China and Russia.
Also addressing the conference, Meir Litvak of the Alliance Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University seemed to go against public opinion when he said he believes that “no matter how bad the JCPOA agreement was, it gave Israel time and it slowed down the Iranians. As horrific as the Iranian regime is I don’t think that Iran really wants a bomb. I think that from the Iranian perspective, it wants to be on the brink of a nuclear bomb.
“I am not underestimating Iran,” he added. “It is horrible, and its top priority is to destroy us. But I think that at this stage, the Iranian regime has not decided to build a nuclear bomb.”
Litvak said he believes that Tehran is “striving for the capability, not for the bomb itself.”