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Report: Israel to Start Training for Strike on Iran Nuke Program

October 26, 2021

by: Ilse Strauss

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An IAF training exercise over Masada

Tuesday, 26 October 2021 | Simmering tensions between the Jewish state and the Islamic Republic kicked up another notch with the Israeli Air Force (IAF) allegedly set to start training for a strike to dismantle Iran’s nuclear program as early as the beginning of next year, the Times of Israel reports.

The report comes nine months after Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi instructed the military to begin drafting operational attack plans and a week after Israel announced that NIS 5 billion (US $1.6 billion) has been allocated to prepare for the execution of such plans.

According to the report, the IDF’s strike plan is currently still in the “draft” stage. Some aspects may, however, be ready shortly. Others may take up to a year and more to be finalized.

Drafting an actionable attack plan and then training to set such a plan in motion is, of course, a massive feat, with its scope going well beyond the strike itself, according to the Times of Israel. Apart from the operational execution, which entails setting up the means to strike the Iranian facilities burrowed deeply underground using special weapons and tactics that Israel might not possess at present, the IAF will also have to devise ways to circumvent the increasingly advanced Iranian air defenses guarding the nuclear installations. Then there is also the very real possibility of Iranian retaliation and the need to safeguard the Israeli home front against attacks launched by Tehran or one of its terror proxies in the region.

Israel crafting a military answer to Iran’s nuclear ambitions comes amid growing uncertainty over the Islamic Republic’s return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (2015 nuclear deal). The return talks have been at an impasse since the election of Iran’s ultra conservative President Ebrahim Raisi in June, with no date set yet for a seventh round.

The 2015 nuclear deal offered the embattled Islamic Republic sanction relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear ambitions. And for its part, the Times of Israel explains, it prompted “Israel [to] put the issue of a military strike on the Iranian nuclear program on the back burner, allowing the IDF to invest its resources into other areas.”

However, Jerusalem’s priorities shifted with the US withdrawal from the deal in 2018 and more specifically, Tehran’s subsequent violation of restrictions which advanced its program significantly in the race to the nuclear breakout threshold—a line Israel vows it won’t allow Iran to cross. Israel sees Iran going nuclear as an existential threat, and it is precisely Iran’s vigorous dash for Israel’s red line that has reintroduced the need to prepare a strong military threat to dissuade the mullahs from realizing their nuclear ambitions.

US President Joe Biden believes in a diplomatic solution and favors a return to the 2015 accord, but Iran has new prerequisites and additional hoops for world powers to jump through before calling a halt to their nuclear advances. Tehran demands that the US drop all sanctions, while the US insists that Iran make the first move.

Amid the stalemates, ambiguity and duplicity, there is Israel’s warning that Iran is inching closer to the bomb with every passing week. Jerusalem is clearly not banking on a diplomatic solution either.

In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly last month, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett warned that “Iran’s nuclear program has hit a watershed moment, and so has our tolerance. Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning…We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.”

Bennett’s vow, together with the necessary budget to make good on that threat and now the report of preparations for a strike plan mean only one thing: the mullahs should sleep with one eye open.

Posted on October 26, 2021

Source: (Bridges for Peace, October 26, 2021)

Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces/flickr.com

Photo License: flickr.com

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