Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon issued a stern warning to Iran in an interview with Germany’s Der Spiegel on Friday hinting at covert Israeli activity in the fight against Iran’s nuclear program, Israel’s NRG reported.
“We must be ready to defend ourselves,” Ya’alon said. “I am not responsible for the lives of Iranian scientists.”
The Defense Minister stressed that Israel may yet strike Iran’s nuclear facilities if Tehran violates the recently-signed nuclear deal with world powers.
“We cannot, under any circumstances, live with an Iran with nuclear weapons, really, the matter is very simple,” said Ya’alon. “One way or another we have to stop Iran’s nuclear ambitions. We prefer this to be done through the path of an agreement or sanctions, but in the end, Israel must be able to defend itself.”
His message comes on the heels of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action reached between the P5+1 countries and Iran in July. The deal has been vociferously opposed by Israeli leaders who say it leaves the country at risk.
At least five Iranian nuclear scientists have been assassinated over the past several years, most of them through car bombs. While Iran has blamed Israel for the assassinations, the Jewish state has never admitted to being involved.
But according to a CBS report last year, the Obama administration apparently pressured Israel into ending its assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. The last known assassination took place in late 2013.