Iran would have obtained nuclear weapons years ago if not for undercover Israeli operations against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, the former head of the Israel Defense Forces said Wednesday.
“Israel carries out diverse operations, most of which are covert, to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear capabilities,” Gadi Eisenkot declared during a security conference held at Netanya Academic College.
“Without these actions I believe Iran would have already become a nuclear state some 7-10 years ago.”
The former military chief also said Israel may need more than military might to address future security challenges, citing the situation in Ukraine as an example.
“When I examine the strategic balance, I see a cup half full and a cup half empty,” he said, explaining that on the one hand, Israel has built “an impressive and massive security force” that provides Israel with a good reason to be confident.
“But if you look at the events unfolding between Russia and Ukraine, you see a country with very impressive military capabilities facing a very weak army, and you can see what international perception and support can do to a country’s prowess,” Eisenkot noted.
The remarks came after the Israeli Air Force simulated a widescale strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities Tuesday night.
The simulated attack was part of the broader exercise that involves nearly all branches of the IDF and is focused on training for fighting on Israel’s northern borders, including against the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon.
גדי אייזנקוט, הרמטכ"ל לשעבר, בכנס מאיר דגן במכללה האקדמית נתניה:
״ישראל עושה פעילות מגוונת, שרובה הגדול חשאי, למנוע גרעין באיראן. ללא זה אני מניח שאיראן הייתה גרעינית כבר לפני 7-10 שנים״.
דברי אייזנקוט עומדים בניגוד לטענת אלה המאשימים את נתניהו במחדל מול איראן.
צילום: תמיר ברגיג pic.twitter.com/HkabYZlz1T
— Ariel Kahana אריאל כהנא (@arik3000) June 1, 2022
In light of Iran’s growing nuclear capabilities and continued uncertainty whether the 2015 Iran nuclear deal will be restored amid long-stalled negotiations, the IDF has ramped up its efforts to prepare a credible military threat against Tehran’s nuclear facilities over the past year.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Tuesday published documents he said showed that Iran had spied on UN’s atomic agency in order to plan a cover-up of its nuclear activities.
In a separate report published Monday, the International Atomic Energy Agency estimated that Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium had grown to more than 18 times the limit agreed on in the nuclear deal between Tehran and major powers.