Benny Gantz says that an Iran with nuclear missile capabilities is open invitation for arms race in the Middle East

After a meeting with EU Ambassador to Israel Emanuele Giaufret, Israeli alternative Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz lashed out at Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Gantz called “Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons” and invitation to an “open arms race in the Middle East.” Gantz also made reference to the nuclear deal with Iran or so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action under UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which aims for an Iranian civil nuclear program away from nuclear-capable missiles.

Gantz made reference to this and said that “not every agreement with Iran will achieve the desired result.” The U.S. under President Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal with Iran. “I am confident that the U.S. administration will act to curb Iranian aggression in the region and prevent it from developing its nuclear capabilities, because a nuclear Iran will threaten other countries in the region as it is with Israel, so any agreement with Iran must look at the facts in a realistic way,” Gantz said.

With regard to Lebanon, Gantz showed a map of the deployment of rockets in civilian areas throughout Lebanon: “This is the reality in Lebanon, Hezbollah violates international law and hides weapons in populated civilian areas that were supposed to be demilitarized, and in some cases inside civilian homes, if we have to attack in Lebanon, it will happen at these civilian hot spots at great cost”, he said.

According to Gantz, the new Lebanese government under President Hariri must restrain Iran-backed Hezbollah for its own interest and that of its citizens. Lebanon and Israel are currently in talks over the maritime demarcation between the two countries. Gantz called the resolving of the maritime demarcation issue an opportunity for good Israeli-Lebanese relations without Hezbollah.

The influential daughter of Syriac Maronite Lebanese President Michel Aoun Claudine Aoun, has repeated in Lebanese media the possibility of normalization of relations with Israel on the condition issues between the two neighbors on e.g maritime and land demarcations, natural resources, and Palestinian refugees are resolved.