Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz confirmed Thursday that his country is ready to strike Iran militarily if necessary.
In a new interview with Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, Gantz said that Israel is mobilizing the international community to rein in Tehran “because we cannot classify Iran as an Israeli problem only and excuse the rest of the world from this issue.”
Amid escalating tensions in the region, Gantz indicated that “Iran seeks to create challenges for Israel on more than one front and side,” stressing that they are continuing to develop capabilities to face various challenges.
He said, “The world needs to deal with Iran, and the region needs to deal with Iran, and Israel must play its role in this aspect.”
On Wednesday, Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid revealed, during a briefing to envoys of the member states of the Security Council, the identity of the Iranian official responsible for the attack on the ship in the Gulf of Oman at the end of last month.
Gantz also warned the ambassadors that Iran was about 10 weeks away from accessing materials that would enable the country to develop a nuclear weapon.
Gantz told the envoys of the Security Council that “Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Air Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, is behind dozens of terrorist attacks in the region using drones and missiles.”
Israel is seeking to hold a meeting of the UN Security Council on the deadly drone attack on the oil tanker Mercer Street, which Israel and other Western countries accuse Iran of carrying out.
While Iran strongly denies the accusations, the Israelis believe that the ship was targeted because it was operated by a company owned by an Israeli businessman.
On Tuesday, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, sent a letter to the Security Council demanding an urgent response to the maritime accidents and condemnation of Iran over the drone attack on the Mercer Street oil tanker.
Gantz’s comments come a day after Iranian-backed forces seized another oil tanker in the Gulf of Oman during an incident described by British authorities as a “possible hijack”, before the ship regained control after the attackers escaped.
Three maritime security sources confirmed to Reuters that Iranian-backed forces had seized the tanker, while Iran denies this.
The latest tensions in the region came with the swearing-in of the new Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi before parliament on Thursday.