IDF Chief Sees Opportunities in Iran Deal

YERUSHALAYIM -

IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot surprised Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday by declaring that there are a number of positive aspects to the nuclear deal with Iran.

Eizenkot noted that the highest ranks in Israel, and in particular the Prime Minister’s Office, are addressing only the risks entailed in the agreement.

But, he asserted, “the agreement is a significant change of course for Iran. There are many risks but also opportunities. We are reevaluating this shift in the IDF’s corridors of power.

“I would estimate that over the next five years Iran will make considerable efforts to fulfill its part and get the benefits from that,” he said. “Iran is still near the top of our list in terms of the need to monitor them. Their vision of obtaining a nuclear weapon will continue insofar as Iran views itself as a regional power.

“We also see (Iran’s) attempt to influence Arab Israelis and those in the Gaza Strip, and the estimation is that as Iran’s economic situation improves, over the next one to two years, it will divert considerably more resources into opposing Israel, via the Iranian military industry,” Eizenkot continued.

The army chief identified Hizbullah as the leading challenge to Israel’s security. The Iranian proxy in Lebanon has established a defensive line of some 250 fortified villages, ready for the next military confrontation with Israel. At the same time, Eizenkot noted that IDF intelligence and operational capabilities in the region have improved significantly since the Second Lebanon War in 2006.