A concrete plan is needed on the Iranian front, former Israeli Air Force commander Ido Nehushtan said Tuesday evening, hours after IDF Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz warned that the dangers facing the country are growing.
“There must be a credible military option against Iran, both as a deterrent and for practical purposes,” Nehushtan said at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.
The two most serious problems facing Israel are Iran’s nuclear program and the use of rockets to rain terror on Israel’s citizens by Hamas and other organizations, the former pilot said, calling for the decision makers to treat them as such.
“We don’t know where the winds are blowing, which regimes will rise and which will topple,” Gantz told soldiers earlier in the day. The dangers facing the country are ever growing, and “we must stay alert at all times and improve our abilities,” he said.
Israel has indicated it will turn to military action against Iran if left no other choice. Confronting the Iranian threat is set to be one of the main talking points during US President Barack Obama’s meetings with Israeli leaders on Wednesday and Thursday.
Led by the US, the international community has leveled harsh economic sanctions against Tehran in an attempt to pressure it into backing down from its quest for nuclear weapons. Several rounds of talks between Western powers and Iran have been held, most recently in Kazakhstan in February, but have yielded no substantive results.
In a pre-visit interview to Channel 2 News, Obama intimated Thursday that should diplomatic efforts fail this year or early next year, America will be forced to carry out military action against Iran.
“There is a window, not an infinite period of time, a window of time where we can resolve this diplomatically,” Obama said. “Right now we think that it would take over a year or so for Iran to actually develop a nuclear weapon, but we obviously don’t want to cut it too close.”
“If we can resolve it diplomatically, that’s a more lasting solution,” Obama said, but added: “When I that say all options are on the table, all options are on the table. And the US obviously has significant capabilities.”
“It’s clear to everyone that the Iranians don’t intend to halt their efforts to reach nuclear capability,” Israel’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chair Avigdor Liberman said last month. Iran is buying time while the world looks on, he charged, speaking after the most recent round of talks between the sides.
In February, US legislators pushed for a bill that would guarantee Jerusalem would be backed and aided by Washington if it decides to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.