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Israeli minister warns warplanes 'can reach' Iran

Israeli minister warns warplanes 'can reach' Iran
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A top Israeli minister ramped up the country’s rhetoric against Tehran Thursday, warning that Israel’s warplanes could reach Iran as the country negotiates a nuclear deal with world powers. 

Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen in an interview with Reuters reiterated Israel’s position that a “bad deal” could fuel war in the Middle East and maintained the country would not take any options off the table to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

"Anyone seeking short-term benefits should be mindful of the longer-term," Cohen said. "Israel will not allow Iran to attain nuclear arms. Iran has no immunity anywhere. Our planes can reach everywhere in the Middle East — and certainly Iran."

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The warning comes as the U.S. and other nations negotiate with Iran over a return to the Obama-era nuclear deal, from which then-President TrumpDonald TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE withdrew the U.S. in 2018. 

Washington and Tehran are communicating through European intermediaries over what it would take for each side to return to compliance, though no breakthroughs have yet been announced.

Washington maintains that Iran must return its uranium enrichment to the limits the deal set out, but Tehran says that sanctions that it faced after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal must first be lifted before any changes to its nuclear program are made.

Israel has maintained that the Obama-era agreement paved the way for Tehran to obtain a nuclear weapon, and Cohen on Thursday said any new deal should force Iran to stop “destabilizing other countries” and funding armed groups in the Middle East.

Cohen’s warning comes after several attacks on Iran’s nuclear program, including a recent sabotage attack on the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, that have been attributed to Israel. The Israeli government has neither confirmed nor denied its involvement in the attacks.