Ashkenazi on Iran explosions: Our actions are better left unsaid

‘Not every incident in Iran has to do with us,’ Gantz says

Israel's new Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi (photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
Israel's new Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi
(photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
Israel takes action to stop the Iranian nuclear threat, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said Sunday in response to a question about a series of explosions that rocked sites associated with Iran’s missile and nuclear program.
“We have a long-term policy over the course of many administrations not to allow Iran to have nuclear abilities,” he said. “This [Iranian] regime with those abilities is an existential threat to Israel, and Israel cannot allow it to establish itself on our northern border.”
Therefore, “we take actions that are better left unsaid,” he added.
Ashkenazi spoke at a conference of Maariv and The Jerusalem Post marking the 10th anniversary of Israel joining the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
A series of mysterious explosions have occurred in Iran, starting last Thursday at a facility close to the Parchin military complex. While Iran said the explosion was caused by a gas leak, satellite photos later showed it took place at a nearby missile production facility.
It was followed by an explosion at a hospital in Tehran that killed 19 people. On Friday, a large fire caused extensive damage to a building at the nuclear complex at Natanz, Iran’s largest uranium-enrichment facility. On Saturday, another fire was reported at a power station in the southern Iranian region of Ahvaz, close to the Iraqi border.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s comments to Army Radio on Sunday were closer to a denial.
“Not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us... All those systems are complex," he said. "They have very high safety constraints, and I’m not sure they always know how to maintain them.”
“Everyone can be suspicious of us all the time,” he added. “But not every incident that happens in Iran necessarily has something to do with us.”
“We continue to act on all fronts to reduce the possibility that Iran will become a nuclear power, and we will continue to do this part of protecting our security,” Gantz said. “A nuclear Iran is a threat to the world and the region, as well as a threat to Israel, and we will do everything to prevent that from happening. And we will do everything possible to prevent Iran from spreading terrorism and weapons, but I do not refer to any individual event.”
Ashkenazi said Israel supports US efforts to ensure that the UN arms embargo on Iran is extended past its original expiration date this October. Israel cannot accept a situation where the regime in Tehran can buy advanced weapons systems, he said.
“The problem is not just attaining nuclear weapons,” Ashkenazi said. “It’s that they are arming groups across the Middle East. Look at Hezbollah in Lebanon. That is why we’re making broad diplomatic efforts across the world.”
Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization confirmed that an incident occurred at Natanz, where a highly sophisticated Stuxnet cyberattack took place in 2010.
Although Iranian state media has blamed Israel and the United States for possibly sabotaging the sites, it stopped short of directly accusing either country.
Iran says it knows who is behind the incident. Gholamreza Jalali, head of the Civil Defense Organization, told State TV last Thursday: “Responding to cyberattacks is part of the country’s defense might. If it is proven that our country has been targeted by a cyberattack, we will respond.”
While Iran has denied seeking nuclear weapons and says its atomic program is peaceful, Israel has warned repeatedly about its nuclear ambitions and has pledged to never allow it to obtain weapons that can threaten the Jewish State.