Futile rhetoric

March 6, 2021 - 22:42

TEHRAN – Israeli officials have ramped up their belligerent rhetoric against Iran in a concerted effort to obstruct any détente between Iran and the West.

Israeli war minister Benny Gantz has recently issued threats against Iran in what appeared to be a message to both Tehran and Washington that Israeli concerns about the 2015 nuclear deal – formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – should be taken into account in any future nuclear talks, otherwise Israel would “independently” make reckless moves. 

“If the world stops them before, it's very much good. But if not, we must stand independently and we must defend ourselves by ourselves,” Gantz told Fox News. 

He also echoed threats issued by top Israeli general Aviv Kochavi that Israeli armed forces could attack targets inside Iran. The Israeli military is updating plans to strike Iranian nuclear sites and is prepared to act independently, Gantz said, claiming that Israel has identified numerous targets inside Iran that would hurt its ability to develop a nuclear bomb.

Following Biden’s win in the United States presidential election, Kochavi, chief of staff of Israel’s armed forces, exactly issued the same threat against Iran while warning Biden against rejoining the JCPOA. In a rare comment on American foreign policy, Kochavi warned Biden against rejoining the nuclear deal and even threatened Iran with military action.

“With the changing of the administration in the United States, the Iranians have said they want to return to the previous agreement. I want to state my position, the position that I give to all my colleagues when I meet them around the world: Returning to the 2015 nuclear agreement or even to an agreement that is similar but with a few improvements is a bad thing, and it is not the right thing to do,” Kochavi said.

The Israeli general went so far as to say that he ordered Israel’s army to prepare offensive options against Iran.

“I have instructed the IDF to prepare several operational plans in addition to existing ones, which we will develop throughout the coming year. The power to initiate them lies with the political echelon. However, the offensive options need to be prepared, ready, and on the table,” Kochavi said in remarks delivered at the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies 14th Annual International Conference.

Gantz reiterated these threats and even threatened to strike civilian areas in southern Lebanon in the future confrontation with Hezbollah.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also issued similar threats, accusing Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons and threatening to attack Iran. 

These threats are nothing new. These days, the Israelis see Iran’s footprint in everything including in an oil spill off Israel’s coast. Last week, Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel accused Iran of orchestrating an environmental attack on Israel by dumping oil off Israel’s coast, a strange accusation that even the Israelis denounced as being harmful to Israeli interests. 

“As last month’s oil spill continues to do damage to Israel’s territorial waters and beaches, Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel is doing damage to herself, to the prime minister and to Israel’s efforts to contain Iran, with her ongoing accusations that Tehran deliberately engineered the incident,” The Times of Israel wrote on Friday.

In addition, some Israeli politicians even questioned Gantz and Netanyahu’s threats against Iran as an election ploy aimed at rallying Israelis’ vote behind them. 

On Friday, Israel’s former defense minister Avigdor Liberman said in a tweet that “the belligerent remarks of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense against Iran are nothing more than a struggle to gain more votes.”

However, these remarks elicited a strong response from Iran, which has long said that it would firmly respond to any Israeli aggression against it.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran strongly warns against any adventurism by Israeli regime and reserves its inherent right to self-defense to decisively respond to any threat or wrongful act perpetrated by this regime,” Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to international organizations in Vienna, told the UN nuclear watchdog’s board of governors on Friday.

Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi also warned against aggression.

In a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday, Takht Ravanchi warned of consequences of any possible miscalculated measure by Israel over an explosion that damaged an Israeli ship in the Sea of Oman last week, according to Press TV.

The letter came a week after an Israeli-owned cargo ship said it had been crippled by a suspected blast while it was in the Sea of Oman, claiming that it suffered holes in both sides of its hull.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hastily accused Iran of attacking the ship. Iran categorically rejected the charge.

“The incident has all the characteristics of a complicated false flag operation carried out by actors in order to pursue their malign policies and to advance their illegitimate objectives,” wrote Takht-Ravanchi in his letter to the UN.

Israel is worried and furious because it failed to achieve its goal of pitting the U.S. against Iran. Tel Aviv is now repeating the same old trick of “appease me or I will…” vis a vis Iran. Under Obama, Israel threatened to attack Iran in a bid to prevent Washington from signing a deal with Iran. Now it’s doing the same. But this time Israel will fail too. Because it sets unreasonable conditions for the United State which itself knows better than others that they are not feasible.