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IDF chief warns US not to rejoin Iran deal

IDF chief Aviv Kochavi apparently did not consult with his superiors before speaking out against the United States returning to the nuclear deal with Iran.
Israel's Army Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi, addresses the media at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv on November 12, 2019. - Israel's military killed a commander of Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in a strike on his home in the Gaza Strip early in the morning, prompting retaliatory rocket fire and fears of a severe escalation in violence. (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN / AFP) (Photo by GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

On Jan. 26, the day Al-Monitor ran an article describing hints of a military option against Iran that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was directing at the new US administration, the chief of the Israel Defense Forces, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, delivered his annual address at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. His remarks shocked Israel’s political-defense establishment and likely reverberated in Washington and Tehran.

Contrary to the position taken by two of Kochavi’s predecessors, Lt. Gen. (res.) Benny Gantz and Lt. Gen. (res.) Gabi Ashkenazi, who currently serve as Israel’s ministers of defense and foreign affairs, respectively, Kochavi launched a direct attack on the Barack Obama administration’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and delivered thinly veiled hints to the new Democratic administration.

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