Israel must build up military force while talking to allies on Iran — Gantz

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says Israel is working to develop its ability to conduct a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, alongside its efforts to improve the terms of a future agreement between the world powers and Tehran.

“In terms of Iran, we must influence our partners and to have ongoing discussions with them. Our other obligation is to build a military force, which is an important issue by itself. I ordered [the military] to improve its force build-up, in parallel to our discussions with our strategic partners,” Gantz says after being asked about a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel and the United States have been at loggerheads over the Iranian issue, with US President Joe Biden preferring a diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue, while Israel doubts the feasibility of such an agreement under the current conditions.

Asked what would represent a “best case scenario” in terms of a new Iran nuclear deal, Gantz says Israel would want one that dealt not only with the issue of uranium enrichment but with missiles and Iran’s activities in the region, namely its support for proxies throughout the Middle East.

“A good deal would be a deal that sealed the holes of the current deal in terms of nuclear enrichment, launch systems, the deal’s duration, and what Iran is doing in the region,” he says.

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