Tags: Biden Administration | Iran | Israel | Middle East | nuclear deal | arms race | saudia arabia

Israel's Top Military Official Warns US About Rejoining Iran Nuclear Deal

a graphic illustration of an iranian flag with missiles pointed as a dusk sky
(Serhii Milekhin/Dreamstime)

By    |   Tuesday, 26 January 2021 10:16 PM

In a rare public comment on U.S. foreign policy, Israel's top military official warned against rejoining the Iran nuclear deal.

"With the changing of the administration in the United States, the Iranians have said they want to return to the previous agreement," Israel Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Aviv Kochavi said Tuesday, per the Washington Examiner.

"I want to state my position, the position that I give to all my colleagues when I meet them around the world: Returning to the 2015 nuclear agreement – or even to an agreement that is similar but with a few improvements – is a bad thing and it is not the right thing to do."

Under former President Donald Trump, the U.S. withdrew from the nuclear deal in 2018. Iran has continued to breach all aspects of the treaty since then, per The Times of Israel.

Iran announced earlier this month it was employing 1,000 additional centrifuges and would begin enriching uranium to levels far in excess of the deal.

"As of today, Iran has increased the amount of enriched material beyond what was permitted; it enriched it to levels beyond what was permitted," Kochavi said. "It developed and manufactured centrifuges that will allow it to rush ahead and produce a weapon at a much faster rate, within months, maybe even weeks."

Iran said Tuesday it would move to restrict short-notice inspections of suspect nuclear facilities from late February.

"No one has any doubt: Iran hopes, wants, identified, and built the capabilities necessary to be a military nuclear power, and maybe even use them when it decides it wants to," said Kochavi, who spoke during a livestreamed speech at the Institute for National Security Studies think tank's annual conference.

Kochavi also warned a return to the Iran deal likely would cause a "nuclear arms race" in the Middle East as countries such as Saudi Arabia, which also sees Iran as a major threat, would seek to obtain an atomic weapon.

In Israel, the highlight of Kochavi's appearance was the announcement the IDF had been directed to refresh operational plans regarding what to do if it needs to strike Iran because of its nuclear program.

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Israel's top military official warned against rejoining the Iran nuclear deal.
nuclear deal, arms race, saudia arabia, military
Tuesday, 26 January 2021 10:16 PM
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