Jerusalem, 13 September, 2022 (TPS) — “Iran is not only advancing in its capabilities, but also in its rate of production. At the Fordow underground site, Iran’s enrichment rate has tripled in the last year,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned during a briefing for the United Nations Security Council and ambassadors from countries in the Middle East that joined the Abraham Accords.
Gantz’s address at the UNSC completed a series of meetings at the United Nations HQ in New York, together with Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, and other Israeli officials. Gantz met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and with US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
He told the assembly that “the number one cause for instability and terror in the Middle East is Iran. Iranian activities spread terror and could even spark an arms race.”
He was at the UN because he “believe[s] that together we can prevent it – and the time to act is now. Iranian regional and global terror – whether it comes from Iran proper or via well-funded proxies – threatens our economies, energy resources, food security, trade, freedom of navigation and overall peace and stability. This will only worsen if Iran will have a ‘nuclear umbrella.’”
“Israeli intelligence confirms international reports that Iran is progressing its nuclear program. Over the past year, Iran has steadily increased its production of hundreds of centrifuges, which will enable enrichment to high levels. In fact, according to our assessments, in the past year the number of advanced centrifuges has more than doubled in the underground facilities of Natanz and Fordow,” he revealed.
“Iran is not only advancing in its capabilities, but also in its rate of production. At the Fordow underground site, where I remind you that the JCPOA prohibits activities, Iran’s enrichment rate has tripled in the last year. The international community must unite. We need powerful and decisive action,” he demanded.
As for Iran’s demands to close all UN investigations against its nuclear activities as a condition for resigning a nuclear deal, Gantz said that “we cannot turn a blind eye to the open files. We cannot give Iran a free pass and we, the international community deserve answers. A thorough investigation of the three undeclared sites will enable us to demand high-level inspections. The IAEA must remain a professional and independent organization.”
The prospects of the West signing a deal with Iran at this time are slim.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed pessimism over the prospects of signing a deal with Iran, saying on Monday that “what we’ve seen over the last week or so in Iran’s response to the proposal put forward by the European Union is clearly a step backward and makes prospects for an agreement in the near term, I would say, unlikely, and you’ve heard the European Union and in particular you’ve heard the so-called E3 – Germany, France, and the UK – pronounce themselves on the latest developments.”
The E3 stated over the weekend that Iran “continues to escalate its nuclear program way beyond any plausible civilian justification,” while acknowledging that the finalization of a renewed nuclear deal with Tehran was not in sight.