Israel Calls on U.S. to Wield ‘Credible Military Threat’ Against Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the opening of an exhibition showc
AP/Dan Balilty

Israel on Tuesday called on the U.S. to issue a “credible military threat” against Iran, after U.N. atomic agency inspectors discovered uranium enriched to near weapons-grade levels.

“Iran is very close to 90% enrichment of uranium. The United States must put a credible military threat on the table immediately,” Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen told an audience of American Jewish leaders in Jerusalem on Tuesday.

The U.S. has not ruled out pursuing a military option but has also not explicitly warned of such. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated this week that “everything is on the table.”

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week discovered uranium enriched to 84 percent purity in Iran, the closest it’s ever been to the 90 percent weapons-grade level, Bloomberg reported on Sunday.

The report cited two IAEA inspectors as saying they were still clarifying if it Tehran made the move intentionally or if an “unintended accumulation within the network of pipes connecting the hundreds of fast-spinning centrifuges used to separate the isotopes.”

According to the IAEA’s last report, Iran had reached 60% enriched uranium.

The IAEA censured Iran earlier this month for making an undeclared amendment to the interconnection between the two clusters of sophisticated machines at its Fordow plant to up to 60% purity, a discovery that IAEA inspectors made at a surprise visit to the site on Jan. 21, the Reuters news agency said.

The IAEA stated in a confidential report obtained by the news wire that “they were interconnected in a way that was substantially different from the mode of operation declared by Iran.”

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi warned Tehran had enough nuclear material for several atomic bombs should it continue to enrich uranium.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that “Iran’s acts of aggression against [Israel] are unceasing,” and cited an attack on the Israeli-owned Campo Square oil tanker In the Persian Gulf last week. Iran denies the attack.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that the regime in Tehran was engaged in talks to sell dozens of countries sophisticated weapons systems ahead of the impending expiration of a UN arms embargo on it that was part of the tattered 2015 nuclear deal.

“Iran is no longer a ‘local supplier’ serving proxies in the Middle East. It is a ‘multinational corporation,’ a global exporter of advanced weapons,” said Gallant at the annual Munich Security Conference on Friday.

“From Belarus in Eastern Europe to Venezuela in South America—we have seen Iran delivering UAVs with a range of up to 1,000 kilometers. In fact, Iran is currently holding discussions to sell advanced weapons … to no less than 50 different countries.”



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