IDF chief Kochavi to lobby European leaders against Iran deal, Hezbollah

IDF senior sources said that Kochavi intends to discuss with the European leaders security-related issues with an emphasis on Iran, Lebanon and ICC probe.

IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi speaks at the officers graduation ceremony, July 1st, 2020 (photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi speaks at the officers graduation ceremony, July 1st, 2020
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi will join President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday on his diplomatic trip to France, Germany, and Austria.
Rivlin and Kochavi are expected to meet French President Emmanuel Macron, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen, and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
In addition, Kochavi is expected to meet also with the German Bundeswehr’s Inspector-General Eberhard Zorn and the Austrian Chief of the General Staff Robert Brieger.
IDF senior sources said that Kochavi intends to discuss with the European leaders security-related issues with an emphasis on Iran and Lebanon.
They said that he will present, among other things, the failures of the current Iran deal; the challenges that Iran poses to the region —  from Syria to Yemen; and Lebanon’s and Hezbollah’s disregarding of UN 1701 decision, as well as the implications and threats that their precise missiles pose on the region.
The sources added that Kochavi will also bring up the issue of the IDF captive soldiers, and the recent ICC decision to open an investigation into Israel’s actions in the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem.
According to sources, the chief of staff will tell the leaders that the decision has severe implications on the ability of democracies to operate on battlefields against terrorist militias that choose to hide behind civilians.
Kochavi was one of the first Israeli officials - after Joe Biden took up the presidency in January - to come out openly against a return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal or the possibility of America entering into a new deal that appear to be only "slightly improved." 
If Iran’s progress in developing advanced centrifuges and enriching uranium are not stopped, it could eventually be “only weeks” away from a nuclear bomb, he said at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) annual conference.
The Iran deal would still allow the Islamic Republic to break out to a nuclear weapon in 2030 when the agreement expires, Kochavi said.
The US and others must maintain all sanctions and pressure because Tehran is at its weakest and closest to making real concessions, he said.
Kochavi said he had ordered operational plans to strike Iran’s nuclear program to be ready if necessary, but whether to use those plans and under what circumstances was a decision for the political echelon.