Lapid: ‘Israel will not sit idly by while Iran tries to attack us’

Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid said on Sunday that Israel would not stand idly by while Iran tried to attack it, and called on the international community to restore “full force” economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic, according to a statement issued by his office.

The comments come a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that Iran had started using advanced centrifuges at its underground Fordow facility to enrich uranium.

“Yesterday it was revealed that Iran is enriching uranium in advanced centrifuges in complete violation of the agreements it has signed,” Lapid said in the statement. “The international response must be decisive: return to the UN Security Council and activate the full sanctions mechanism. Israel, for its part, reserves complete freedom of action, diplomatic and operational, in the fight against the Iranian nuclear program.

Lapid stressed that Israel “will not sit idly by while Iran tries to attack us”, adding: “Our security services know how to reach anyone, anywhere – and that is exactly what what they will do. We will discuss with [U.S.] President [Joe Biden] and his team expand security cooperation against all threats.

The US leader is due to arrive in the Middle East this week, on a visit that will see him travel to Israel and Saudi Arabia, with a stopover in Ramallah to meet Palestinian officials.

According Reuters, Iran informed the IAEA on July 7 that it “has begun to power” a cascade of advanced centrifuges to produce 20% 235U-enriched uranium. The UN nuclear watchdog also reiterated in its report that Tehran has already stockpiled 60% enriched uranium, which is a short technical step from the 90% content required for nuclear weapons.

While Iran is required to notify the IAEA if it decides to produce more highly enriched uranium, the agency’s report warned that if Tehran “chooses not to, it could escape detection for a while because there is currently a disconnect between Iran’s enrichment and the IAEA inspectors.” verification of what is produced.

In response, former Israeli military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. (res.) Tamir Heiman said 103FM Sunday that, “At Fordow, there are advanced centrifuges and a rapid ability to move between different enrichment states. While that means that by tomorrow morning the Iranians can get 90% military rich, it doesn’t mean they have a bomb, and it still doesn’t mean it’s too late. It may still be delayed.

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