In a disturbing if not surprising display of hostility, Israeli “Defense” Minister Benny Gantz made a series of deeply aggressive comments regarding Iran earlier today, including saying that Israel is ready to attack Iran and engage in a “multi-front” conflict in the region. These comments were clearly timed to coincide with today’s inauguration of the new Iranian president Ebarhim Raisi.
Israel has made claims that Iran was responsible for a recent attack on an Israeli-owned ship near Oman without providing any evidence beyond claims to be in possession of secret information, which they say they shared with their allies. Tehran has completely rejected these allegations. However, Israel has cited this attack as justification for their war-mongering language and stance toward Iran, especially the new Raisi administration.
Despite attempts by Israel to paint Iran as the aggressor, it is imperative to recognize the ways in which the Israeli regime is in fact the cause of tensions. One glaring example of this is Israel’s vehement opposition to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran nuclear deal, which Raisi wants to reactivate. This opposition is not simply rhetorical, but has taken the form of attacks on Iran with the aim of disrupting attempts to reinstate the JCPOA. This includes the cyber attack Israel launched against the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran earlier this year. And that was not the first time that Israel directed a strike against Natanz. Prior to this most recent attack, the facility was also the target of an explosion that damaged a centrifuge assembly plant in July of last year, as well as the target of another major cyberattack in 2010.
Other cases of Israeli aggression against Iran have come in the form of the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. The most recent of these occurred in November of last year, when Israel carried out the murder of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was at that time Iran’s chief nuclear scientist. Israel was also behind the assassinations of Dr. Majid Shahriari in November 2010 and of Dr. Ardeshir Hassanpour in January 2007. These killings, as well as the sabotage of Iran’s nuclear facilities, are just a few instances in a campaign of terror that has been waged against Iran by Israel for decades.
While Israel tries to paint themselves as the victims of one-sided attacks from Iran, we cannot fail to see the true nature of the conflict — driven by Israel and backed, funded, and supported by the United States. Israel is dependent on U.S. political and military support. Without the backing of the world’s main imperialist power, Israel could not hope to carry out such wanton acts of aggression with near impunity on the world stage. The Israeli government cannot claim innocence or self-defense when the world knows that for decades they have been engaged in a campaign of terror against Iran, and that if either side has a legitimate claim to engaging in self-defense it is certainly not Israel.