Head of the 'Habithonistim' (Protectors of Israel) movement of high-ranking officers, commanders and IDF fighters research department, Or Issachar, says Iran is inching closer to a nuclear outbreak while the world community would prefer to turn a blind eye to the threat in order to appease the Ayatollahs while profiting in the financial and other spheres, leaving Israel alone in the fight with Iran.
"One of the advantages is that we were already in this film in 2015 when the previous agreement was signed and we can compare the situation today to what it was then," he says, pointing out that Iran has made headway in its nuclear program, "making substantial progress including enriching uranium to a sixty percent level." "It had never reached this point in the past but in the last year alone, [the Islamic Republic] has produced at least 40 kilos of such material and more than 180 kilos of enriched uranium at a twenty percent level," he adds.
"This means that according to the IAEA's assessment, Iran is about two weeks from having enough enriched uranium for a first nuclear weapon." It is difficult to attain enriched uranium at a 20 percent level, but from there to the ninety percent level, which is needed for producing nuclear weapons, the timeline is much shorter, and today they have more advanced centrifuges that can enrich 10 times more than in past years," he says.
"What is worrying is that today Iran is in a very advanced state from a nuclear point of view, it is only a matter of decision for them, and the world community are not demanding real concessions from it because Iran will not sign an agreement that would prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons. Therefore, instead of destroying advanced centrifuges, they agreed to disassemble them and put them aside while waiting for an opportunity to put them in motion again. The sanctions mechanism that in the past could be returned automatically depends today on the report of the Atomic Energy Agency, which will obviously be subject to American pressure to desist from publishing a report that the Iranians are violating the agreement."
Issachar sees all this as evidence of a very worrying development that points to the world's lack of interest in the matter. "They are knowingly signing an agreement that will keep Iran as a nuclear threshold state, even if it provides them a small tactical advantage. In a short time, in 2031, it will be a threshold state with a large nuclear arsenal. For us, this is very worrying. Israel cannot live under such a threat," he stresses.
According to Issachar, the right answer to Iran rests in crude strength. "Iran understands the language of crude force. If it signs, you can be sure that they do not intend to carry it out, and if they do, it is only a way for them to wait out favorable conditions to complete their mission. What is needed is for a country like Israel, and certainly the United States, to exercise a credible military threat against Iran. We have many partners in the region, some of whom have signed peace agreements with us, who share our concern and they could be used as an access point to Iran's backyard so that Iran would face a credible threat."
He also points out the importance of strong sanctions that could paralyze the Iranian economy and leaving in place existing sanctions on leading IRGC actors as well as the organization's assets around the world. Issaschar says restrictions need to be imposed on the movement of regime officials, but for this to happen, worldwide cooperation is required which is currently out of sight. According to him, "Israel and its regional partners will be left alone in the face of the Iranian threat", while the lack of interest on the part the US and Europe, which is taking the path of appeasement and silence due to its inability to act, will be the final say.
Issachar insists the delay of a year and a half since the beginning of Biden's presidency allowed, as the Russian representative to the nuclear talks described it, Iran's blackmail of the West in every way until it accepted all its demands. "It is worrying to see that the world chooses to sweep the matter under the rug while some Gulf states are trying to reconcile with Iran. The United Arab Emirates is returning an ambassador to Iran, Saudi Arabia is giving signs of reconciliation. This will cause long-term strategic damage with Israel left alone to fight Iran."
Issachar expands on the mutual economic interests of Europe and Iran for the continuation of trade between them, especially after the damage wrought by the COVID-19 crisis. He mentions that the moment sanctions were lifted, European investment in Iran jumped by 300 percent. "This means the injection of a trillion dollars into Iran's coffers within a decade and the injection of hundreds of billions into aiding finance organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad in the immediate future," he continues.
"In this alarming reality, all that is left for Israel to do is, 'ring the alarm bells in every way possible, appeal to the media, world leaders, and tell them that they are doing themselves - not us - a favor by not [singing the nuclear deal with Iran].
"The North Korean precedent shows us the severity of a country like Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and remaining rich (even) when the military option is off the table. "The Straits of Bab al-Mandab will be blocked to world trade, blocking the trade of Saudi oil to the world", points out Issaschar as one of the many examples of the effect of the conciliatory move with Iran.
"We have to do everything we can. Even if the rest of the world does not care. For us, Israel's security is the key. Even if the countries of the world allow Iran do whatever it wants, Israel should maintain the option of defending itself even at the cost of a confrontation with Europe, the US and condemnations that come and go whatever we do. We have to do our part," he insists.
"Even if the US, Russia and China give in to Iran, sweep the problem under the rug, we need to keep the option to protect Israel's security and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons because that would mean catastrophic damage to the entire region. A nuclear state that wants to take over Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza, as well as attack Israel itself is a much bigger threat [than world condemnation]," he concludes.