Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid has threatened Iran with using Israel’s military capabilities to thwart Tehran’s nuclear program.
“It is still too early to know if we have indeed succeeded in stopping the nuclear agreement, but Israel is prepared for every threat and every scenario,” Lapid said in a statement during a visit to the Nevatim airbase in southern Israel, which houses the Israeli Air Force’s fleet of advanced F-35 fighter jets.
The Israeli premier said Tel Aviv is making great efforts to discourage Western countries from signing a “crystalline” agreement with Iran regarding its nuclear program.
“If Iran continues to test us, it will discover Israel’s capabilities,” he added, going on to stress Israel’s ” total freedom of action in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear threat.”
Lapid’s threat came as Tehran and Washington have entered the last stretch to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal, with both sides currently exchanging comments on a draft proposal tabled by the European Union.
Israel accuses Iran of seeking to build a nuclear bomb, a claim denied by Tehran, which says its program is designed for peaceful purposes.
Former US President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed sanctions as part of a “maximum pressure campaign” on Tehran.
Iran retaliated by stepping back from its nuclear-related commitments under the deal. Tehran has since exceeded thresholds on the enrichment of uranium and the amount it is allowed to possess under the pact.
Israeli F-35 stealth jet entered Iranian airspace
Israeli F-35 stealth fighters penetrated Iranian airspace on multiple occasions in the last two months, a Saudi-run news outlet reported Wednesday, as Israel stepped up its rhetoric against a nascent agreement to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers.
The report in London-based Elaph said the jets successfully evaded Russian and Iranian radars during the exercises. Drones and mid-air refueling tankers were also reported to have participated in the “massive” drills.
According to Elaph, Israel and the US also carried out secret exercises over the Red Sea, simulating a strike on Iran from the sea and air and seizing Iranian warships.
Elaph also reported that Israeli submarines have been covertly monitoring Iranian spy ships Behshad and its escort Jamaran and helicopter landing ship Hingham. The ships are stationed in the Red Sea.
According to the outlet, the coordination between US and Israeli forces all but confirms America’s willingness to participate in either an offensive strike or in defensive action should indirect talks between Washington and Tehran to revive the nuclear deal break down.
In January, Elaph, citing an unnamed source, reported on Israel carrying out massive refuelling drills over the Mediterranean, also aimed at practicing for an Iran strike.
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