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Israeli Defense Minister Gantz Denounces IDF Chief's Remarks on Iran 'Nuclear Threat'

© REUTERS / CORINNA KERN Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, speaks during an election campaign rally in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Israel, February 25, 2020
 Benny Gantz, leader of Blue and White party, speaks during an election campaign rally in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Israel, February 25, 2020 - Sputnik International
In Tuesday remarks, the chief of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), Aviv Kohavi, alleged that Iran was close to creating a nuclear bomb, and said that as a result the IDF will prepare "additional military operations".

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Wednesday commented on recent remarks made by Kohavi, saying that such statements should not be made publicly.

“A nuclear Iran is a danger to the world, to the region and is a challenge to the security of Israel. Of course Israel must be prepared to defend itself in any way, but red lines are drawn in closed rooms,” Gantz said at a press conference.

Kohavi, in his speech at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), said that he had ordered the IDF to develop additional military plans, citing his claims that Iran was close to becoming a nuclear power.

Kohavi also slammed intentions of the United States to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), claiming that the agreement on the nuclear deal would lead to Tehran creating a nuclear bomb and, in his opinion, should therefore "not be allowed".

Gantz was not alone in criticising Kohavi's remarks, as he was joined by former top military official, Amos Gilad, who, according to The Times of Israel, denounced the IDF chief's comments as counterproductive.

“If you want to have a negotiation, with all due respect, the prime minister can have a quiet negotiation with the president of the United States. Why insult and excoriate? That’s not how you lead policy,” Gilad pointed out.

Kohavi's remarks came amid the possibility of a JCPOA revival, after a former US president, Donald Trump, unilaterally withdrew Washington from the deal in 2018, prompting Tehran to step away from its commitments to scale back its nuclear program.

 Incoming Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi reviews an honour guard during a handover ceremony where he replaces Lieutenant-General Gadi Eizenkot, at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, Israel January 15, 2019 - Sputnik International
Head of IDF Announces Additional Military Plans Amid Concerns of Iran's Potential to Create Nukes

The Islamic republic has repeatedly stressed that its nuclear program, despite stepping away from the JCPOA commitments, only has peaceful purposes, and that the country has no intention of creating nuclear weapons.

Joe Biden, who was sworn in as US president on 20 January, said that he would consider returning to the JCPOA, if Iran complies with the commitments under the deal.

In response, Tehran consistently underlined that the US must first lift sanctions against the country before a re-entry into the JCPOA is possible.

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