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On April 30, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of having a secret program to produce nuclear weapons as well as to expand the range of its nuclear-capable missiles.
Netanyahu said the evidence provided “new and conclusive proof of the secret nuclear weapons program that Iran has been hiding for years from the international community in its secret atomic archive.”
According to the statement, Israel has thousands of documents revealing how Iran had allegedly lied to the world after signing the nuclear agreement.
The Israeli prime minister denounced the Iran nuclear deal as a “historic mistake” and claimed that lifting anti-Iran sanctions would allow the country to boost support for its allies throughout the Middle East, including Iranian-backed groups in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
On the same day, the Israeli Parliament, the Knesset, voted in favor of Netanyahu’s request to grant him the authority to declare war with only the defense minister’s approval in “extreme circumstance”.
The Israeli announcement followed another round of airstrikes on Iranian-backed forces in Syria, which had hit targets in the provinces of Aleppo and Hama. The strikes resulted in killing of dozens of fighters in Iranian-backed militias.
At the same time, the Israeli media disseminated a series of reports citing anonymous defense and political sources alleging that Israel had informed the US and Russia that if Iran attacks Israel from Syria, either itself or through its proxy Hezbollah, Jerusalem will not hold back and will respond forcefully, targeting Iranian soil.
Some Iranian experts described the recent Israeli statements as a direct threat to Iran and an attempt to escalate further the already complicated situation in the Middle East. Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami slammed Netanyahu’s statement saying the Islamic Republic will give a benumbing and crushing response to its enemies’ conspiracies.
It’s important to note Mike Pompeo, former CIA head and the new secretary of state, supported the Israeli claims. He said that Israel has already provided the intelligence to the US, and American officials have assessed it to be “authentic”. Netanyahu’s speech “has really shown that I’ve been 100 percent right” on the need to take a hardline against Iran, he said.
The Trump administration and the president himself have repeatedly criticized the Iran nuclear deal threatening to review or to even to withdraw from it.
According to some experts, the Israeli-US-led bloc is now working to increase pressure on Iran or event to push forward for a limited escalation in an attempt to redraw the results of the regional standoff between them and the Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah alliance, which is supported by Russia. Israel and its allies want to reverse the recent Iranian gains by any and all means because the further growth of Iranian influence poses a direct threat to their interests in the region.