On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif accused Israel of plotting attacks in Iraq against the US to provoke a military confrontation between Iran and the US.
“New intelligence from Iraq indicate that Israeli agent-provocateurs are plotting attacks against Americans—putting an outgoing Trump in a bind with a fake casus belli,” Zarif wrote on Twitter. “Be careful of a trap, @realDonaldTrump. Any fireworks will backfire badly, particularly against your same BFFs,” he added.
Zarif’s tweet came on the eve of the anniversary of the US assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, which was marked on Sunday. In the weeks leading up to the anniversary, US officials have been warning of imminent Iranian attacks in Iraq. For their part, Iran has urged caution and warned its Iraqi allies not to provoke the US, hoping to avoid a war with the US before Trump leaves office.
An Israeli official dismissed Zarif’s comments. Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz called the claim “nonsense” in an interview on Sunday. While Israel may not be plotting to attack the US, the Israelis did choose to escalate tensions in the region, being the likely perpetrator of the assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.