Iran sent war warning as Israel ‘prepares for all options and scenarios’

Iran carries out annual military exercises

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The unnamed security official said Tel Aviv has “no interest in a war with Iran, but we will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons”. The sabre-rattling comes as talks between Iran and five world powers (plus the US indirectly) on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal – known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – are due to resume in the Austrian capital Vienna on 29 November.

The JCPOA limited Iran’s nuclear activities and opened its facilities up to enhanced inspections in return for the partial lifting of international sanctions.

It was abandoned by US President Donald Trump in 2018, with Israel’s approval.

Both Iran and Israel have recently conducted and completed complex military training exercises.

For Tel Aviv, this was the first such military exercise with its newfound allies Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, as well as with senior ally, the United States.

Training included scrambling jets, hitting fixed targets and ended with a controversial flight of Israeli fighter jets escorting a US ‘bunker-busting’ bomber across the Israeli desert.

Iran for its part conducted huge military exercises in an area stretching from the eastern sector of the strategic Strait of Hormuz to the northern tip of the Indian Ocean and parts of the Red Sea, with the participation of airborne units, Special Forces, and rapid reaction brigades.

Speaking of the allegations that Iran is seeking to build a nuclear weapon, Former Israeli National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror said: “Israel cannot live with a situation in which the Iranians are getting closer and closer to the bomb, and it will soon have to make a decision how to stop it.”

He added: “I don’t see any other way but to bomb it, because I don’t see the Iranians retreating from their dream of having a nuclear umbrella under which they can be even more aggressive than they are today.”

Discussing the threats by Israel during the Iranian exercises, Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said: “They fully know that they can only be the initiator of any military action against Iran, but we’ll be the one who decides the ending.”

Israel has twice acted alone to destroy its enemies’ nuclear reactors – in Iraq in 1981, and in 2007 in Syria – with little retaliation.

Iran however insists it is not pursuing a nuclear weapon, and that its programme is peaceful, and for civilian use.

Tehran is a founder signatory member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, (NPT), which states that any nuclear technology will only be used for non-military purposes.

Many analysts question whether Israel is capable of effectively mounting a complex operation to stop Iran’s much more advanced nuclear programme, which involves multiple sites with some underground facilities, and what price it would have to pay.

Israeli officials claim the logistics and consequences of a pre-emptive strike on Iran would lead to severe consequences.

Mr Amidror said: “Everyone in Israel understands that a strike might lead to a very complicated war.”

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Iran however is seeking diplomatic solutions to ongoing problems in the region.

Since the election of the new President, Ebrahim Raeisi, talks between Iran and the P4+1 have stalled, yet are set to resume imminently.

The restoration of the JCPOA in its full, with the US rejoining the accord, would once again see sanctions lifted against Iran.

Furthermore, Iran will likely grant access to IAEA inspectors who will continue their role in monitoring Iranian nuclear facilities.

To date, Iran has been hit by several suspicious attacks believed to have originated and executed by Israeli intelligence networks.

The assassination of a top scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, as well as a series of explosions at the Natanz facility near the hallmarks of Israeli involvement, something that the former chief of Mossad, Yossi Cohen essentially admitted upon his retirement.

Pressure is on for Israel who is now determined to derail the JCPOA talks in order to continue the current economic and political status quo on Iran.

Should the JCPOA return, and the Iranian economy open up, Tel Aviv will lobby further to curb Tehran via other means.

US President Joe Biden’s administration has proposed to Iran a straightforward return to “mutual compliance” with the JCPOA, but Israel’s government opposes that.

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