Iran is building its military capacity to attack countries in "the Middle East and Israel in particular," Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Friday in a Washington meeting with heads of research institutes.
In a post on Twitter, Gantz claimed Iran was "building its power in the west of the country" in order to carry out these attacks. He added that Israel is "prepared for any such attempt, and will do whatever it takes to protect our citizens and our assets."
In the post, Gantz said he had uncovered several "disturbing" cases of Iranian aggression. Such as Iran's military base in the city of Kashan, its use of explosive-laden drones, and its efforts to transfer explosives to "terrorist groups in the West Bank."
Gantz said last month that Iran in 2018 had attempted to fly an explosive-laden drone from Syria to terror groups in the West Bank, but that Israel had intercepted the aircraft over Israeli territory. He also revealed the locations of two bases in southern Iran – one in Chabahar and another on the island of Qeshm – used for drone attacks on maritime targets.
"Iran is trying to deepen its control and involvement in many parts of the world in order to impose an extremist ideology that would harm human rights and global stability. Iran is not strong today and action can be taken to stop it – and that is exactly what I talked to senior government officials about during my visit." he wrote on Friday.
Gantz told U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Thursday he hopes to "deepen our dialogue and cooperation" on Iran, including "joint military readiness to face Iran and to stop its regional aggression and nuclear aspirations."
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The Israeli defense minister's meetings in Washington come as talks resume in Vienna between Iran and world powers on curbing Iran's nuclear program.