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Israel wants US to adopt military-first option with Iran

Israel's Defence Minister Benny Gantz speaks at the Reichman University's Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) in the Mediterranean coastal city of Herzliya on 23 November 2021. [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]
Israel's Defence Minister Benny Gantz on 23 November 2021 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

With the newly-resumed Iran nuclear deal negotiations in the balance in Vienna, a bellicose Israel is urging the US to take military action. Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Mossad chief David Barnea are expected to meet senior officials in the White House this week to make the case for a military-first agenda against Iran, Israel's three main TV news broadcasts reported last night.

Gantz and Barnea will urge their American interlocutors to develop a military plan to strike Iran. The stalled negotiations in Vienna are seen by the Israelis as an opportunity to press the US to adopt a more aggressive policy towards the Islamic Republic. A list of targets is said to have been drawn up. This includes a potential attack against Iranian targets in Yemen. The aim of such a strike would be to convince the Iranians to soften their position at the talks about their nuclear programme.

Israel is expected to tell the Americans that it needs to continue its operations against Iran's nuclear facilities. A recent example was the assassination of Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, last November using a remote-controlled machine gun and artificial intelligence.

The US, however, does not see eye to eye with Israel on this issue. It is said to have warned the occupation state that these strikes are counterproductive, with Iran building improved facilities after each setback.

Ex-Israel PM: Our policy towards Iran has been nothing but a failureĀ 

"I call on every country negotiating with Iran in Vienna to take a strong line and make it clear to Iran that it cannot enrich uranium and negotiate at the same time," said Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett yesterday. "Iran must begin to pay a price for its violations."

Israel's sabre rattling and its zeal for the military-first option has been highlighted further by the Spectator. "Mossad is [preparing] to strike at the heart of Iran's nuclear programme," according to a source in Israel cited by the British magazine. Describing Iran as an "octopus" the author of the article said that Israel would no longer go after the "tentacles" but instead "go for the head".

Prior to the negotiations restarting last week, Iran's top diplomat, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, said that an agreement to revive his country's nuclear deal with world powers was "within reach" but that this depended on the goodwill of the West.

In 2018, former US President Donald Trump walked away unilaterally from the deal painstakingly stitched together by his predecessor, Barack Obama. The move, regarded widely as reckless, was urged on by the then Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Trump's rash decision backfired. Pro-Israel hawks now admit that it "was one of the dumbest, most poorly thought out and counterproductive US national security decisions of the post-Cold War era."

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