Israel Works to Bolster Fighter Jet Arsenal Amid Iran Nuke Fears
The Fellowship | August 24, 2017
This past year, the United States has delivered five F-35 stealth fighters to its greatest ally, Israel, with two more soon to come. That is important, writes The Jerusalem Post’s Anna Ahronheim, because the plane’s ability to carry out attacks deep into enemy territory is critical as Iran continues to threaten further development of nuclear weapons:
With an extremely low radar signature, the F-35 can operate undetected deep inside enemy territory such as Iran and evade advanced missile defenses like the advanced Russian-made S-300 system that Tehran announced in March had become operational.
Russia delivered the S-300 system last year, in an $800 million deal that had been frozen in 2010 due to United Nations Security Council sanctions which barred the sales of advanced weapons to Tehran.
Israel had long sought to block the sale, as it remains concerned that Iran will develop nuclear weapons.
Jerusalem remains concerned that Iran will violate the July 2015 nuclear deal, and on Tuesday, Ali Akbar Salehi, one of the Islamic Republic’s vice presidents, said it could start creating highly enriched uranium within five days if the US canceled the nuclear deal.
“If we make the determination, we are able to resume 20% enrichment in at most five days,” he said.
Salehi’s comments echoed others made by President Hassan Rouhani, who warned earlier this month that “threats and sanctions” made by Washington would give Iran reason to build up its nuclear capabilities.
“In an hour and a day, Iran could return to a more advanced level than at the beginning of the negotiations,” he said, adding that “those who are trying to go back to the language of threats and sanctions are prisoners of their past hallucinations.
They deprive themselves of the advantages of peace.”
Former Israel Air Force chief Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amir Eshel has called the F-35 “game changing,” saying that Israel gathered new intelligence during a single flight by the F-35 earlier this year that other reconnaissance and intelligence gathering systems would take weeks to gather…