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January 20, 2022 11:32 am
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Iranian ‘Aggression’ Should Be on Table in Vienna, Says Israel’s Gantz

avatar by Sharon Wrobel

Israeli Defense MInister Benny Gantz meets with Greek Defense Minister Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos. Photo: Ariel Hermoni / Israeli Ministry of Defense

Iran’s continued regional aggression should be tackled side by side with the nuclear issue during international negotiations in Vienna, Israel’s Defense Ministry Benny Gantz told his Greek counterpart Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos on Thursday.

“During these critical weeks, Iran continues its pursuit of nuclear capabilities. And while Iranian officials deliver educated remarks in nice suits in Vienna, their proxies continue their aggressive attacks,” said Gantz during a visit of the Greek defense minister to Israel.

On Monday, Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group launched missile and drone attacks at several sites in the UAE, setting off explosions in fuel trucks that killed three civilians and led to a fire near the airport of Abu Dhabi. The US and other countries strongly condemned the strikes.

“Iran’s double-dealing must be brought to the negotiating table. Any international effort must address both the nuclear issue, as well as Iranian aggression,” Gantz demanded. “Israel and its partners, with the US at the forefront, will continue to defend itself and support peace and stability in the region.”

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Separately, Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Thursday convened a meeting with Israel’s senior defense establishment, including Gantz, IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi and Defense Ministry Director General Maj,-Gen. (ret.) Amir Eshel to discuss the country’s challenges, with special focus on the Iranian issue.

Bennett made clear that the main task of Israel is to inflict “significant harm” on the Iranian regime and its proxies in the region.

At the meeting with Israel’s defense head, Panagiotopoulos said that Greece sought to expand its defense industrial ties with Israel, which have grown in recent years.

“Our common goal is to deepen the defense cooperation between Greece and Israel,” Panagiotopoulos remarked, citing regularly organized exercises and trainings.  “We aim to build a stable, secure and prosperous environment in the wider region of the eastern Mediterranean.”

Gantz emphasized that Israel views Greece as a “strong regional partner” and considers the bilateral defense relationship an “asset.”

“As a NATO member, Greece plays a big role in maintaining security and stability in the eastern Mediterranean and beyond. We value both our bilateral defense relations as well as our work in the trilateral framework, together with Cyprus,” Gantz said.

“There is great potential to expand Israel’s cooperation with its old and new friends in the fields of energy, innovation and security,” he added.

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