11 July 2020   Leave a comment

The New York Times is reporting that the US and Israel have decided upon low-level attacks on the Iranian nuclear infrastructure as a way to slow down a possible path toward nuclear weapons capability. There have been a number of attacks on such facilities and the level of sophistication of these attacks seem far beyond the capabilities of a domestic opposition group. The possibility of attacks by either Israel or the US raises problems for any Iranian response. So far, the Iranians have been quite restrained in the face of similar attacks, focusing on missile attacks against US forces in Iraq. But the safest course of action by Iran would be to wait for the results of the US election in November. If President Trump is not re-elected, the US stance may soften slightly which would further weaken the Israeli position given the vulnerabilities of Prime Minister Netanyahu. But there is a limit to the degree of damage the Iranians may be willing to suffer. Borzou Daragahi assesses the conundrum for Iran:

“So far, the Iranians appear to be biding their time. In addition to the November elections, Iran is nervously awaiting the October expiration of a decade-long United Nations arms embargo. Washington is attempting desperately to get the rest of the Security Council to extend the ban while Iran is trying to be on its best behavior. 

“’Staying patient is what we’ve been saying to the Iranians for years,’ said the Western diplomat. ‘They could have chosen to react in various ways. They have been pretty calm and restrained. My gut tells me they don’t want to be sucked into anything in the run-up to September and October.’

“While losing the Natanz facility, which was only made operational in 2018, was a loss, the Iranians will likely choose to hold off on any response for now. Even the perpetrators of the alleged bombing appear to have refrained from taking credit in a likely attempt to discourage reprisal. If a response comes, it will likely come after the elections—perhaps, in the weeks before inauguration day.” 

“’They need first of all to make up their minds [on] what caused this,’ the former Israeli Defense Force military intelligence chief General Yossi Kuperwasser said in an interview. ‘They would probably rather wait until Trump is over to respond. The major goal they have in their mind is to see Trump disappear. Natanz is one of the problems out of many Iran has to face, the main problem is the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign from the Americans. It causes them much more problems.'”

Let’s hope that there is no major escalation in this particular crisis.

I won’t be posting this coming week. I am off to see my beautiful granddaughters. I will return to posting next Saturday.

Clara and Emmy

Posted July 11, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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