On Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz completed a series of meetings at the United Nations in New York, together with Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan, Director of the Policy and POL-MIL Bureau Dror Shalom and Military Secretary Yaki Dolf. Minister Gantz met with U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres and with U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
Gantz also held a briefing for UN Security Council Ambassadors and representatives of the Abraham Accord signatories on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of the accords.
The defense minister warned that in the past year, Iran's nuclear program has advanced not only qualitatively but also quantitively, noting a three-fold increase in uranium enrichment capacity at the Fordow facility.
“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. I am here because I believe 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."
"Iran is not only advancing in its capabilities, but also in its rate of production. At 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.”
Gantz also addressed the “Open Files” issue: “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.”
Regarding the maritime negotiations with Lebanon, Gantz said: “In the end there will be two gas rigs, one Israeli and one Lebanese. The question is whether we can reach this scenario without an unnecessary escalation as a result of Hezbollah threats. The state of Israel is interested in progressing maritime border negotiations with Lebanon.”
Israel's Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan slammed anti-Israel bias at the UN.
"Israel is presented at the UN and at the Security Council in particular, in a distorted and biased manner. Every month, the Council holds a discussion devoted entirely to the Middle East, and instead of dealing with the terrorist organizations that kill civilians and the main threats in the region, the Security Council chooses to concentrate on only one percent of the Middle East - the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
"And despite the disproportionate preoccupation with the issue, there is no progress and the area is becoming a 'barrel of explosives' on the verge of exploding. Israel's Minister of Defense presented the threats that the Security Council should really be dealing with - the issues that threaten the region and the world."