Defense Minister Benny Gantz revealed on Wednesday the identity of an Iranian commander responsible for last week's deadly strike on an Israeli-managed oil tanker off the coast of Oman.
Briefing ambassadors of countries on the UN Security Council, Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid named Saeed Ara Jani — the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) UAV Command — and claimed he was directly involved in the attack on the Mercer Street that killed two crewmen, a Briton and a Romanian.
"The person directly responsible for these actions is Saeed Ara Jani, whose name I am revealing for the first time," Ganz said. "Ara Jani is the main operator of the Revolutionary Guards' UAV apparatus which attacked the Mercer Street. He provides the equipment, training, programs and is responsible for many terrorist acts in the region."
Gantz also called out Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC’s Air Force, who he claims masterminded dozens of terror attacks in the region employing UAVs and missiles.
Gantz and Lapid told the ambassadors that Israel reserves itself the freedom to respond to any attack and threat on Israeli citizens.
At the same time, the two sent a message to the ambassadors that the attack was not a local or bilateral conflict, but an "attack on the entire world" that must get a response that can only come through a united front in the international community.
Gantz also warned that Iran was just weeks from acquiring enough nuclear material to build a bomb.
"Iran has crossed all the lines set in the last nuclear deal and today is just ten weeks away from acquiring weapons-grade materials necessary for a nuclear weapon," he said. "That is why this is time for action. The world must impose economic sanctions and bring operative action against the Revolutionary Guards. We have no conflict with the Iranian people but with the regime that could lead to a dangerous arms race in the entire Middle East."
Iran and the U.S. have been in indirect talks in Vienna on the latter rejoining the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), widely known as the Iran nuclear deal. The talks have been suspended until Iran's incoming president Ebrahim Raisi takes office on Thursday.
Iran has been openly progressing in its nuclear program since then-U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal and imposed crippling economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.