Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday claimed Iran is two months away from nuclear weapons capacity.
Gantz made the statements in front of an assembly of 60 ambassadors in Tel Aviv, while calling on the international community to create a new prevention plan separate from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
‘Iran is only two months away from acquiring the materials necessary for a nuclear weapon,’ Gantz told ambassadors.
Iran entered into the 2015 nuclear deal with the United Nations Security Council which limited their stockpiles of uranium and the number of facilities that could be used to enrich the material, a key step in the development of nuclear weapons.
Iranian authorities largely abided by the terms of the 2015 deal until 2019, when they announced they had exceeded the limitation on their stockpile of low-enriched uranium.
Tehran later declared it would no longer comply with the terms of the deal after Iranian general Qassem Soleimani was killed in an American drone strike in January 2020.
Gantz’ comments come just one day before Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is expected to present an alternative plan for Iran’s nuclear capabilities to US President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday.
Bennett has been critical of the existing nuclear accord between Iran and world powers, and said any future agreement must also take into account Iran’s regional aggression.
Recent months have seen a string of attacks on Israeli-connected shipping, believed to have been carried out by Iran.
Earlier this week, Bennett told his Cabinet he would tell the American president that ‘now is the time to halt the Iranians, to stop this thing’ and not re-enter ‘a nuclear deal that has already expired and is not relevant, even to those who thought it was once relevant.’
Biden meanwhile has been in favor of reviving the 2015 nuclear deal from which the US withdrew in 2018 during the Trump administration, but indirect talks brokered by the European Union have thus far proved unsuccessful.
Gantz was doubtful that attempts to revive the existing 2015 deal would prove fruitful.
‘We do not know if the Iranian regime will be willing to sign an agreement and come back to the negotiation table and the international community must build a viable ‘Plan B’ in order to stop Iran in its tracks towards a nuclear weapon,’ he said.
‘At the end of the day, the goal is to reach a longer, stronger and broader agreement than the previous one.
Gantz went on to say a diplomatic remedy would be preferable, but insisted ‘the State of Israel has the means to act’ and ‘will not hesitate’ to use military force if necessary.
While little is known for certain about Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the regime is not thought to possess the technology needed to encase weapons-grade material in a nuclear core, mount the core on the tip of a missile and successfully launch it.
Some analysts believe it would take Iran two to three years just to produce a viable warhead, assuming they were able to work on it without outside interference.
Iran is also not thought to possess intercontinental ballistic missiles of the kind required to launch a nuclear weapon at the West.
Analysis of its missile stockpile by the International Institute for Strategic Studies published in April estimates the country’s largest missiles have a range of around 1,200 miles.
That would allow the regime to fire a weapon as far as Ukraine, India, or Ethiopia, and would mean Israel is easily within reach, but it would not be able to strike western Europe or the United States.
Tehran said in April it would start producing uranium enriched in the 235 isotope – the isotope required for nuclear fission – up to 60 percent.
Though the process of enriching uranium with the 235 isotope is necessary for generating nuclear energy, it is also a key step on the path to making nuclear weapons, most of which utilise uranium enriched to around 90 percent.
Source » daily mail