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Israel and US working on ‘Plan B’ if Iran nuke talks fail, Gantz says

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Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Monday said Israel and the United States had restored intelligence ties and were working to develop a “Plan B” if the stalled talks between Washington and Tehran regarding a fresh Iran nuclear deal sputter out, following a meeting between Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and US President Joe Biden last week.

Gantz warned that if Iran becomes a nuclear state, it will trigger an international arms race in which many other nations, in the Middle East and beyond, will attempt to acquire an atomic bomb.

“The United States and Israel share intelligence information, and the cooperation with the United States in this field is only getting stronger. We are working with them in order to establish a Plan B and to demonstrate that if there is no deal, other activities will begin, as President Biden said,” the defense minister said, speaking to military correspondents ahead of the Jewish New Year next week.

On Friday, the US president told a joint press conference with Bennett that his administration was “ready to turn to other options” if diplomatic talks with Iran failed, likely alluding to the possibility of clandestine operations and military strikes.

The White House meeting came a day after US officials told the New York Times that Israel’s previous administration had downgraded intelligence sharing with the US after Biden took office. Bennett has sought to restore ties with US Democrats after their relationship with former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu became frayed, though Iran was the focus of the Friday meeting.

Gantz did not specify what the “Plan B” could entail, but Israeli officials have signaled a need for a credible military threat to deter Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.

Gantz’s comments joined a flurry of threats by Israeli defense officials toward Iran in recent days, including Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi, who told reporters last week that the military was preparing plans and funding for a potential military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

“We are allocating resources in order to strengthen our ability to act against challenges in the region, chief among them Iran,” Gantz said.

The defense minister made his comments during an extended briefing with reporters at the Defense Ministry’s offices in Tel Aviv’s Kirya military base,........

© The Times of Israel

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