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Israel Demands UN Action As Iran 'Ten Weeks' From Atomic Bomb

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz Wednesday called on the United Nations Security Council to impose economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, which he said might be ten weeks away from an atomic weapon. Israel's envoy to the UN, Gilad Erdan, called on the security council to "condemn and sanction" Iran over the alleged attack on an Israeli-linked oil Tanker, Mercer Street, in the Arabian Sea on July 29.

Ganz who has said Israel must act without delay against Iran also declared Wednesday that Israel would "retain its right" to act against any Iranian threats or attacks on Israeli citizens.

At the same meeting, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid referred to recent maritime attacks in the region that Israel blames on Iran, calling such attacks an international crime. Lapid threatened that Israel may take the matter in its own hands if the international community did not respond to such incidents.

Speaking to a meeting in Israel of diplomats from security council members, Gantz said Iran had “violated all of the guidelines set in the JCPOA,” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear agreement Iran reached with world powers in 2015. Israel supported United States president Donald Trump in leaving the agreement in 2018 and imposing ‘maximum pressure’ sanctions on Iran – a move that prompted Iran by 2019 to expand its nuclear program beyond JCPOA limits. Israeli officials have said many times before that Iran was close to producing nuclear weapons.

Weapons-grade materials

Gantz told the diplomats Wednesday that Iran was “only around ten weeks away from acquiring weapons-grade materials necessary for a nuclear weapon.” It was “time to act,” he said. “The world must apply economic sanctions and take operative action against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).”

Iran has boosted its uranium enrichment since 2019 and has more than 100 kg of 20-percent enriched uranium. It is also purifying uranium up to 60 percent since the beginning of the year.

In his presentation to the envoys, Gantz accused the commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, of dozens of drone and missile attacks in the region. Gantz also named Saeed Ara-Jani, who he said was the head of the IRGC's drone system. “He provides the supplies, training, plans and is responsible for many acts of terror in the region,” Gantz said.

At the meeting with diplomats, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called recent maritime attacks attributed to Iran “an international crime,” and threatened Israel would act if the “international community” did not do so. Israel and Iran in recent months have accused each other of mutual attacks on commercial ships.

The US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, Israeli National Security Advisor-designate Eyal Hulata and the Israel’s prime minister's foreign policy advisor Shimrit Meir met in Washington Tuesday to discuss maritime security.

“Very suspicious”

Iran has been blamed for the "potential hijacking" of the Panama-flagged asphalt tanker Asphalt Princess off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf of Oman Tuesday. According to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), the Royal Navy information service for shipping, the incident involving Asphalt Princess has been resolved, although UKMTO has not released further information. Argus Media reported Wednesday, after it heard recording of a conversation between the ship and the UAE coastguard, that a group of unidentified Iranians boarded the tanker.

The US, UK and Romania have accused Iran of last week’s apparent drone strike on Mercer Street. The US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken predicted a "collective response" to the attack, in which a Romanian and Briton were killed.

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh Tuesday said recent shipping incidents in the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf were “very suspicious.” Iran's senior armed forces spokesman, Abolfazl Shekarchi, said Tuesday there was "a kind of psychological warfare…setting the stage for new bouts of adventurism" against Iran.

A British-Iranian journalist, political analyst and former correspondent of The National and journalist at Iran International
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