IDF chief: Iranian nuclear threat ‘is not theoretical’

Eisenkot says Tehran still desires atomic weapons, despite 2015 accord with world powers

IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot addresses the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on July 5, 2017. (Isaac Harari/Flash90)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot addresses the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on July 5, 2017. (Isaac Harari/Flash90)

Iran’s desire for nuclear weapons has not been extinguished by the nuclear deal it signed with world powers, IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said Tuesday.

Speaking at an event of bereaved families organization Yad Labanim in Eilat, Eisenkor said “The Iranian threat is not theoretical. The intent and desire to reach nuclear capability exists, despite the deal.”

US President Donald Trump last week said Washington would withdraw from the accord this year unless its terms were changed.

Trump signed a waiver on Friday keeping the Iran nuclear deal alive for the moment, but stated it would be the last time he did so unless Congress and European countries heeded his call to strengthen the deal.

Trump laid out four conditions that must be met, including increased inspections, ensuring “Iran never even comes close to possessing a nuclear weapon,” and that there be no expiration date to the nuke deal. It currently expires after a decade.

His last condition required Capitol Hill lawmakers to pass a bill unilaterally incorporating Iran’s missile program into the nuclear deal.

Iran has repeatedly said that the nuclear accord cannot be renegotiated, including on Saturday when the Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying Tehran would “accept no changes” to the deal and will not allow the accord to be linked to any non-nuclear issue.

The German government said Monday it would seek more details on what the US wants regarding deal, but said it stands by the agreement.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meanwhile said Moscow “will not support what the United States is trying to do, changing the wording of the agreement, incorporating things that will be absolutely unacceptable for Iran.”

Agencies contributed to this report.


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