Israel Air Force F-15 jets during a mid-air refueling exercise. (Flash90/Ofer Zidon) (Flash90/Ofer Zidon)
IAF mid-air refueling

As Iranians ramp up their illegal uranium enrichment, an Israeli cabinet minister warns Tehran that IAF warplanes can reach anywhere – including Iran.

By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel

Israel warned Thursday that a return to a bad nuclear deal with Iran would be a threat to peace in the Middle East, adding that Israel is not bound by an agreement signed by other countries.

As the Biden administration negotiates with Iran at talks in Vienna to revive the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran nuclear deal, Israel has repeated its calls to change the agreement to ensure that Iran cannot produce atomic bombs and to rein in its military aggression across the region.

Iran, which is refusing to talk directly with the American envoys who are forced to sit in a separate room, has demanded the United States remove all sanctions imposed by the Trump administration after it pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018.

Biden said Iran must stop producing highly enriched uranium in violation of the agreement before the US removes sanctions, but the Iranians are firm in their position that they will continue to produce 60% enriched uranium until the sanctions are withdrawn.

Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen told Reuters that Israel does not consider itself bound by the diplomacy and warned: “A bad deal will send the region spiraling into war.”

“Anyone seeking short-term benefits should be mindful of the longer term,” Cohen said. “Israel will not allow Iran to attain nuclear arms. Iran has no immunity anywhere. Our planes can reach everywhere in the Middle East – and certainly Iran.”

Iran claims its nuclear ambitions are peaceful, but earlier this month it announced it was enriching uranium to 60% purity, a severe violation of the nuclear deal and a move European Union Spokesman Peter Stano said has “no credible explanation or civilian justification.”

Cohen said that in addition to denying Iran the means of enriching uranium and developing ballistic missiles, world powers should prevent the Islamic regime from “destabilizing other countries” and funding terrorists.

Several top Israeli defense officials were in Washington this week, including Mossad director Yossi Cohen, to outline Israel’s concerns about Iran with their American counterparts.

Israeli ambassador to the US Gilad Erdan and Meir Ben-Shabbat, head of Israel’s National Security Council, met with US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and his staff.

“At the meeting, we discussed our common goal of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and discussed deepening our cooperation,” Erdan tweeted. “I will continue to work for the security of the State of Israel and to strengthen ties with the United States.”

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