Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Dodges Question About Tel Aviv's Complicity in Natanz Blast
19:50 GMT 05.12.2021 (Updated: 04:29 GMT 06.12.2021)
There have been several reports throughout the years about Israeli military operations aimed at damaging Iranian nuclear sites, which Tel Aviv has not confirmed. The latest reports blame the April blast at the Natanz plant on local scientists who were said to have been recruited by Mossad, Tel Aviv's elite intel agency.
Israel's Deputy Defence Minister Alon Schuster stated that he "can’t say" what caused the 4 December explosion in the Natanz region in Iran, where a nuclear site is located. Schuster dodged the question from a Radio 103FM host about Israeli complicity in the event.
"We don't ask a man what he did at night, but we are currently trying to bring about a change in the motivations of the whole world through diplomatic means".
Schuster focused instead on the efforts Israel has been undertaking to thwart what Tel Aviv claims is Iran's development of its nuclear weapons programme. The Defence Ministry official insisted that Iran's nuclear programme concerns the entire world and not just Israel. Tel Aviv consistently asserts that Tehran seeks to obtain nuclear weapons. Iran has consistently denied the claims.
The deputy defence minister expressed hope that Tel Aviv will "mobilise" the world to stop Iran, but noted that Israel is capable of acting on its own – including using military options. Schuster also remarked that Tel Aviv has invested heavily to increase its readiness for a military scenario.
"We have used force against our enemies in the past and we are convinced that in extreme situations, there is a need to act using military means".
Israel has recently allocated some $1.5 billion to develop military capabilities with which to strike Iranian nuclear objects, which may be fortified and hidden underground. One such site is located not far from the town of Natanz, where an explosion was heard on 4 December. Local media reported sighting a bright light in the sky at the time.
4 December 2021, 17:46 GMT
Iranian authorities later attempted to calm public fears, suggesting that there was no reason for concern and claiming instead that the country's air defence network had fired a missile as part of a test of its "rapid reaction force". No casualties were reported following the incident.
The Natanz facility has been attacked in the past, particularly in an April 2021 blast which Iranian authorities blamed on sabotage. A recent media report in The Jewish Chronicle claims that the attack was perpetrated by 10 Iranian scientists recruited by Mossad. Tel Aviv did not directly confirm that they had attacked the nuclear site. Tehran made no official allegation regarding Israel's complicity in the April 2021 event.