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January 28, 2021 3:04 pm

Netanyahu Reaffirms Israel Will Not Allow Iran to Acquire Nuclear Weapon Following IDF Chief of Staff’s Warning

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures as he delivers a speech at his Jerusalem office, regarding the new measures that will be taken to fight the coronavirus, March 14, 2020. Photo: Gali Tibbon / Pool via Reuters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed on Thursday that Israel will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons following a recent statement from the IDF Chief of Staff that Israel has drawn up new plans for a strike on the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.

Asked about Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi’s Tuesday comments, Israel’s Channel 13 reported that Netanyahu said any country that threatens “the destruction of Israel will not get the weapon in order to do it.”

“This is expressed in steps that I will not detail and in my instructions to all security officials that a return to the existing deal is a mistake,” he stated.

Iran, Netanyahu asserted, “will use the money they receive for a cruel campaign of conquest and a great deal of terrorism.”

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“We must not return to this deal and I hope it will not happen,” he said.

The Biden administration has made it clear that it wishes to return to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, but says it seeks stronger terms than those in the original agreement. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated that the US will consult with Israel and its allies on the negotiations.

On Wednesday, Blinken said that “if Iran comes back into full compliance” the US would as well. But he added that the administration seeks a “longer and stronger agreement” that addresses “deeply problematic” issues — a likely reference to Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional terrorism.

Also on Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz tweeted that he had spoken with the new US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on the Iran issue.

“I emphasized the importance of confronting Iranian aggression and blocking its nuclear aspirations, as well as the centrality of our close coordination to regional security,” Gantz said. “Looking forward to working together again, Secretary Austin.”

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