TEHRAN (Iran News) – With negotiators of Vienna talks returning to capitals for more consultations, talks of a potential Israeli attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities have intensified, with observers pondering over the consequences of such a move.
The recent round of Vienna talks ended last Friday with slight progress on a number of issues. After more than two weeks of intense negotiations, the delegations decided to take a break to make consultations in capitals and prepare for the next round which is expected to take place before the end of this month.
But Vienna talks could be derailed, or at least overshadowed, by a hostile Israeli move against Iran in the coming days. An Iranian security official has told Nour News, a media outlet close to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, that relative progress made in the Vienna talks could reinforce Israel’s motivation to make “malicious moves.”
Citing “some unassessed news,” the official said Israel “is considering making mischief” against Iran.
The warning came after several senior Israeli officials openly threatened to attack Iran. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has said that he ordered the Israeli army to prepare for a military attack on Iran. Other Israeli intelligence, political and military officials have echoed the same threat.
Similarly, U.S. officials said they would resort to “other options” against Iran if diplomacy did fail, a thinly-veiled threat to use the military option.
But if history is any guide, the U.S.-Israeli unvarnished military threats against Iran will almost certainly backfire, to say the least. Unpacking this fact requires delving into a 2018 speech by the Leader of the Revolution delivered at the height of U.S. threats against Iran.
Addressing the importance of missiles in Iran’s defense doctrine, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said, “Today, our youth have made us the foremost missile power in the region. The enemy must know if they strike us just once, we will strike back ten times fold!”
Obviously, this part of the speech, delivered at the Imam Khomeini shrine on June 4, 2018, was focused on the missile issue. But it also provides a glimpse into how Iran approached the West reneging on its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The Trump administration withdrew from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018, and began imposing blanket sanctions on Iran. Various layers of economic bans under different authorities were imposed on the country. Iran waited a year for the Europeans to compensate it for the loss it endured by dint of U.S. sanctions. After the Europeans failed to do so, Iran started to reduce its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA by gradually expanding its nuclear infrastructure.
Iran’s remedial measures in the nuclear sphere, in retrospect, proved consequential, offering the country a strong negotiating position all while pushing the nuclear program a step forward in terms of nuclear progress.
Thus Iran struck back ten times fold. This pattern of strategic response was also replicated when Israel dared to commit acts of sabotage against some Iranian facilities, most notably the Karaj centrifuge manufacturing facility. Israeli media said Mossad agents targeted the facility with a missile fired by a domestically reassembled drone. Aside from how the sabotage was done, the Israeli move plagued Israel, the U.S., the E3, and the IAEA when Iran refused to allow the IAEA to replace the damaged surveillance cameras with new ones. Iran has only allowed the IAEA to do so after the UN nuclear watchdog met Iran’s conditions.
Any Israeli or American hostile move against will highly likely result in a similar impasse for the perpetrators. Now that Iran is constructively engaged in the talks, such a move would prove a mistake of strategic proportions. At least, it will cast a shadow of doubt on the talks.
The Iranian official warned that the possible Israel mischief would have consequences for the U.S. given the fact that Tel Aviv is a strategic partner of Washington and the West in general. He also said that Israeli maliciousness would coercively have a negative impact on cooperation between Iran and the IAEA.