Netanyahu ally says Israel could attack Iran if Biden rejoins nuclear deal

An ally of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened that Israel could attack Iran’s nuclear program if the United States rejoined the nuclear deal.

Tzachi Hanegbi, the Israeli regional cooperation minister, said US President-elect Joe Biden’s administration must not “appease” Iran and warned that Israel would not tolerate Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

“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, which by the end of the deal will have received a green light from the world, including the United States, to continue with its nuclear weapons program,” Hanegbi said in an interview with Israel’s Kan news network.

“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 added.

Warning the incoming Biden administration against allowing Iran to continue with its nuclear and ballistic missiles program, Hanegbi said, “The most important thing is to convince the incoming American administration not to repeat the mistakes of the Obama administration — to appease the Iranians.”

Israel’s Hayom daily also said in a front-page article on Thursday that the Israeli military was drawing up plans for an attack on Iran’s nuclear program.

Israel has repeatedly threatened over the past years to launch military attacks against nuclear and military facilities in Iran to hamper the Islamic Republic’s defense and scientific achievements.

Iran has dismissed the threats as a bluff, but it has also warned that any attack would be Tel Aviv’s first and last.

The Islamic Republic unveiled last week one of the strategic underground missile cities that the country has built all along its southern Persian Gulf coast.

Commander-in-Chief of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Hossein Salami, said at the unveiling ceremony that IRGC forces are fully ready to confront any aggression.

The unveiling came after the US deployed a nuclear-powered submarine and fighter jets to the Persian Gulf in a further escalation of tensions.

Late last month, two American B-52 bombers flew over the Middle East. They deployed from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota and were escorted by US F-16s, according to US Central Command.

The hostile move marked Washington’s third deployment of nuclear-capable B-52s to the region within 45 days.

US submarine spotted during Iran’s drill

New footage circulating in Iranian media Thursday showed a foreign submarine, seemingly a US Navy Ohio class guided-missile submarine, detected during Iran’s naval drills in northern Indian Ocean, with Iranian helicopters warning it to leave the area.

The head pilot is heard warning the submarine against approaching the operation zone and orders it to change course.

Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi, the commander of Iran’s Navy, said the main goal of the two-day maneuvers was to promote sustainable peace and security in the region while project the power of the Iranian nation and its scientists.

Observers believe Israel’s latest threat is a message to Biden in a bid to browbeat the new US administration into retaining Washington’s aggressive policy against Tehran. They say Tel Aviv is quite aware of the disastrous consequences of any military action against the Islamic Republic.