Israeli officials have made it clear in recent weeks that they are opposed to Joe Biden’s plans to return with diplomacy with Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.
Ramping up the rhetoric, a minister from Israel’s Likud Party threatened an attack on Iran’s nuclear program if the US returns to the JCPOA. Tzachi Hanegbi, who is seen as a close ally to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made the threat in an interview with Israel’s Kan News on Wednesday.
“If the United States government rejoins the nuclear deal — and that seems to be the stated policy as of now — the practical result will be that Israel will again be alone against Iran, Hanegbi said. He said reviving the JCPOA means the world would give Iran a “green light” to continue its “nuclear weapons program.”
“This of course we will not allow. We’ve already twice done what needed to be done, in 1981 against the Iraqi nuclear program and in 2007 against the Syrian nuclear program,” he said, referring to Israeli airstrikes on Syrian and Iraqi nuclear reactors.
When asked if he thinks President Trump might order an attack on Iran before he leaves office, Hanegbi said, “The assessment is that nothing dramatic will happen during this week.”
US-Iran tensions have simmered in the final months of Trump’s presidency, thanks in part to Israel’s escalations, with Israel the likely perpetrator of the November assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Israel has also stepped up airstrikes in Syria against what it claims are Iranian targets. The latest operation, which took place early Wednesday, left at least 57 Syrian soldiers and Shia militia members dead. The attack was reportedly carried out in coordination with the US.
Concerning the JCPOA, a report in Israeli media on Wednesday said Netanyahu is forming a team to strategize talks with the Biden administration over Iran’s nuclear program.