Defense Secretary Benny Gantz revealed the location of two Iranian drone bases that he said were used to carry out attacks on targets at sea in recent months.
According to Gantz, one of the sites is in the Chabahar area and the other is on Qeshm Island, just off the coast of mainland Iran.
“I would like to emphasize to you that unmanned aerial vehicles are a precision weapon that can achieve strategic goals worldwide. Most of the drone strikes we have seen so far have been from southern and southeastern Iran towards targets at sea, Said Gantz.
Over the past year, Israel and Iran have been involved in something of a shadow war at sea, in which Tehran has reportedly carried out a series of attacks on Israeli-owned or Israeli-linked vessels sailing through the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, including such strike in July on Mercer Street, an oil tanker owned by an Israeli businessman in which a British and a Romanian crew member were killed.
Gantz warned that Iran’s drone program was a threat not only to Israel but to the entire region.
“We have seen the attack on Aramco, the launch of drones from Syria, Iran’s attempts to build capabilities for Hezbollah to just launch explosive drones against Israel,” he said, referring to a massive attack on Saudi oil company Aramco in 2019 with drones and cruise missiles.
The defense minister’s remarks came less than a week before the resumption of indirect talks between Iran and the United States on a reciprocal return to the 2015 nuclear deal. for an Iranian nuclear weapon. Israeli officials have instead called for another, tougher diplomatic approach, backed by the credible threat of a military attack on Iran’s nuclear program. The United States has reportedly rejected Israel’s activities against Iran’s nuclear facilities, believing that such actions are ultimately inappropriate, as they only serve to encourage Tehran to upgrade these facilities in response.
“There is no doubt that a diplomatic solution is preferable, but next to that we need to have the use of force on the table, which is diplomacy by other means,” Gantz said, referring to a famous quote from the military strategist. Carl von Clausewitz.
“Sometimes the use of force and a demonstration of it are able to prevent the need for a stronger use of force. I thank our American allies for the sanctions and other actions they have taken recently on this front to achieve our common goal, he said.
The Defense Minister called on the rest of the world to take a more active role in countering Iran’s efforts in the region, in particular to prevent Tehran from seizing a nuclear weapon.
“Iran must not become a nuclear weapon. This will lead to a relentless spread of its terror and will even lead to an arms race in the Middle East and beyond,” Gantz said.
Gantz’s speech on Tuesday marked the second time in recent months that he has revealed the location of Iranian drone bases. In September, he identified an Iranian drone base in the central area of Kashan, north of the city of Isfahan, which he said was used not only by Iran but also to train Iranian clerks.
Gantz also revealed on Tuesday that a drone launched by Iran from Syria into Israeli airspace in 2018 had not been on a direct attack mission – as had been suggested – but was instead used to transport TNT to terrorists in the West Bank. .
“In February 2018, Iran launched a Shahed 141 model drone from the T4 airfield against Israel. In that case, Iran used the drone for something we have never seen before: transferring weapons to its proxies for use in terrorist attacks. The UAV was launched “by Iranian envoys in Syria, with an explosive package of TNT and its destination were terrorists in Judea and Samaria, and it was shot down by Israel near Beit She’an,” Gantz said.
In his speech on Tuesday, Gantz noted Iran’s use of proxies throughout the region, in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.
“Just in the past week, 14 drone strikes have been carried out from Yemeni territory against Saudi Arabia, apparently including an attack on King Abdulaziz Airport and Aramco petroleum facilities. In Lebanon, which is experiencing a serious crisis and in need of food and fuel, Iran is financing Hezbollah. “with up to $ 600 million a year, which goes primarily to the Shiite sect, and therefore splits the country up with its ability to govern,” Gantz said.
The defense minister also referred to a recent failed assassination attempt on the Iraqi prime minister, in which a number of explosive drones were flown into his house.
Gantz did not directly accuse Iran of being behind the attack, but said the unmanned aerial vehicles used were “explosive drones of the kind that Iran is spreading throughout the region.” Iran and Iranian-already militias in Iraq have denied involvement in the assassination attempt.
The defense minister accused Iran of trying to take over not only the Middle East but the whole world.
“Iran’s method is simple: first we take Damascus, then we take Berlin,” he said.
Gantz said Iran is currently seeking to expand its influence into Afghanistan following the US withdrawal from the country, which has left the war-torn nation in ruins.