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Israel’s top general hints at ‘operational plans’ against Iran

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JERUSALEM: Israel’s top general said on Tuesday that its military was updating its operational plans against Iran and that any US return to a 2015 nuclear accord with Tehran would be “wrong”.

The remarks are an apparent signal to US President Joe Biden to tread cautiously in any diplomatic engagement with Iran. Such comments by Israel’s military chief of staff on US policymaking are rare and likely would have been pre-approved by the Israeli government.

“A return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, or even if it is a similar accord with several improvements, is bad and wrong from an operational and strategic point of view,” Lt Gen Aviv Kohavi said in an address to Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies.

Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, abandoned the nuclear agreement in 2018, a move that was welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who criticised the sanctions relief it offered and warned of the likelihood of Iranian nuclear arms development after its expiration.

Antony Blinken, confirmed on Tuesday as Biden’s secretary of state, said last week the United States was “a long way” from deciding whether to rejoin the deal and it would need to see what Iran actually did to resume complying with the pact.

Gen Kohavi said recent actions by Iran showed it could ultimately decide to push forward rapidly towards building a nuclear weapon.

“In light of this fundamental analysis, I have instructed the Israel Defence Forces to prepare a number of operational plans, in addition to those already in place,” Kohavi said.

Published in Dawn, January 27th, 2021


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