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Israel ready to strike Iran to stop its nuclear program – Gantz

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Israel is ready to strike Iran, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Thursday, as tensions between the two countries continue to mount following a deadly drone attack against a civilian commercial ship in the Gulf.

Speaking to Ynet, Gantz was asked by Attila Somfalvi if the Jewish State was ready to strike Tehran, to which he answered “yes”, adding that the Islamic Republic was a threat to the country, the Middle East, and the entire world.

Israel considers Iran’s nuclear program as the number one concern and though Tehran has always denied seeking nuclear weapons, it is believed that they are continuing to develop the capabilities to produce a nuclear arsenal and to make ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

“Iran is an international and regional problem. The world witnessed one example on Friday,” Gantz said referring to the deadly attack against the Mercer Street tanker that was struck by a suicide drone.

“This could happen to anyone,” he said.

With new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi taking over on Thursday from moderate Hassan Rouhani, Gantz said he could lead Iran to even more extreme regional and security policies.

“I’m telling the world, pay attention. It’s coming.”

The defense minister warned that Israel has to continue to develop its abilities to cope with multiple fronts because “this is the future.”

“Iran seeks to pose a multi-front challenge to Israel and is building up its forces in Lebanon and Gaza, deploying militias in Syria and Iraq and maintaining its supporters in Yemen. Iran is a global and regional problem and a challenge to Israel,” Gantz said.

Israel, he said, is dealing with the Iranian threat in an active manner against its proxies in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.

“At the end of the day, when a Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative in Gaza fires on Israel, he does it with the support of Iran. We know this and are dealing with it on a number of levels, in various means and in several different places,” he said, adding that Israel will continue to act.

Speaking with diplomats from UN Security Council member states on Wednesday, Gantz warned that Iran had “violated all JCPOA guidelines and is only around 10 weeks from acquiring weapons-grade materials needed to build a nuclear weapon.”

“Now is the time for deeds – words are not enough. It is time for diplomatic, economic, and even military actions – otherwise, the attacks will continue,” he warned.

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