A self-imposed deadline has come and gone without a nuclear deal, but Israel is not waiting around to see how the US and five other countries secure the world from the threat of Iran. Instead, Walla! reported, the Israel Defense Force has appointed a special team to plan for a potential strike at the Islamic Republic’s nuclear targets if needed.
The P5+1 powers had set Tuesday as a deadline for reaching a final agreement with Iran to curb its nuclear development and prevent it from developing atomic weapons. However, Iran has refused to allow unfettered inspections of its covert nuclear sites, saying it is unfair to hold it to different standards than other countries.
Additionally, the Islamic Republic has threatened to return to its full nuclear program should the US or other countries reimpose economic sanctions after they are lifted. Iran has also said it would use advanced centrifuges once a deal is reached, which would allow it to potentially obtain a nuclear arsenal within weeks.
According to the report, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot had appointed Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan to explore military options for Israel’s protection from Iran. The appointment of such a senior officer indicates Israel’s concern that the impending nuclear deal with Iran would significantly change the situation in the region and would likely necessitate a military response.
A source close to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was quoted as saying, “Nothing has changed regarding the military option. Our working assumption is that Iran is lying all the time, beyond the fact that it is funding and directing terror in the Middle East. It (Iran) is our most bitter enemy today, even though we don’t share a physical border with it, and we must not put off any kind of preparedness against it.”
“In the end, we don’t believe Iran. We don’t believe the (nuclear) project will be stopped. Therefore the (military) option will remain…We need to be ready also for the day in which Israel will need to make decisions alone. (What) if it becomes clear they are pushing the envelope in breach of the agreement? Or if Iran goes down deep underground (with its nuclear facilities)? And if new sites are found? Will we wait for the US to take care of them?”
“You have to prepare yourself for all of the threats. Not only for Gaza and Lebanon,” added the source. “The military option costs money but the more time goes by, you’re better prepared to carry out the mission.”
The need for a strong military response against a potentially nuclear Iran is being used to argue against cutting the IDF’s budget. Most of the funding for defense against Iran is funnelled to the Air Force and Intelligence branches.