FPI / July 25, 2019
An Israeli official said, when asked if he feared that the Jewish state would not receive the backing of the United States should conflict with Iran erupt, that Iran would avoid such a scenario because Israel “has been killing Iranians for two years.”
“We strike the Iranians hundreds of times in Syria. Sometimes we acknowledge it and sometimes foreign reports reveal it,” Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi’s said in a recent interview on Israeli public radio.
Hanegbi’s comments came after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in the Persian Gulf. He accused Iran of seeking to create “chaos” and “harm freedom of navigation.”
Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria against Iranian and Hizbullah military targets. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that Israel will not allow Iran to establish a permanent military presence in Syria.
Hanegbi added that the Iranians “understand that Israel means business.”
Netanyahu spoke in a similar vein last week with cadets at the national security college. “At the moment, the only army in the world to fight Iran is the Israeli army,” he said. He warned earlier this month that Israeli fighter jets “can reach anywhere in the Middle East, including Iran.”
Iran’s seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz for breaking “international maritime rules” came some two weeks after Britain seized an Iranian tanker at the mouth of the Mediterranean on allegations of breaching UN sanctions against Syria.
IAEA Choosing New Director-General After Amano’s Death
Meanwhile, Iran is watching closely as two leading candidates have emerged to take over the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) following the death director-general Yukiya Amano on July 22.
Argentina’s ambassador to the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, is running to succeed Amano, and diplomats say the agency’s chief coordinator, Cornel Feruta of Romania, effectively Amano’s chief of staff, is also likely to run. …