Israel’s Gantz Says Iran Training Foreign Militias to Use Drones
Iran is training foreign militias to use unmanned aerial vehicles, Israel’s defense minister said, weeks after a deadly drone strike blamed on Tehran targeted an Israeli-managed tanker.
“One of the most significant tools employed by Iran and its proxies is UAVs with a range of thousands of kilometers,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Sunday at a Tel Aviv security conference. The Kashan base north of the city of Isfahan “is a key point from which Iranian aerial terrorism is exported to the region,” where militants from Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon are trained, he added.
The drone that hit the Israeli-managed Mercer Street tanker off the coast of Oman in August killed two crew members and heated up tensions in and around vital Persian Gulf oil waterways. Israel, the U.S. and the U.K. have all blamed the strike on Iran, which has denied culpability.
Israel is also concerned about Iranian transmission of drone production knowhow to Tehran-backed Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, he said.
Iran’s escalating nuclear work should be met with international sanctions, Gantz said, as world powers struggle to revive their nuclear deal with Tehran.
“The time has come for action,” he said. The 2015 agreement, which offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its atomic program, unraveled after the Trump administration withdrew in 2018. Iran has responded by breaching limits on its nuclear work set out in the deal.
Last month, during a visit to Washington by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, the U.S. and Israel agreed to pursue a joint strategy to halt Iran’s nuclear program, but no details were released.
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