According to the London-based Arabic newspaper, Dar Al-Hayat, Israel and Saudi Arabia have reportedly been urging the Trump administration to surgically strike Iran’s strategic nuclear sites before President-elect Joe Biden assumes office in the White House.
According to the report, Saudi Arabia and Israel also tried unsuccessfully to persuade the United Arab Emirates to join the push for a U.S. strike on Iran.
Saudi Arabia and Israel, like many other countries in the Middle East, bristle at Iran’s nuclear ambitions and aggressive imperial policies. Jerusalem and Riyadh fear that Biden will seek to revive President Barack Obama’s controversial Iran nuclear deal framework from 2015.
With less than three weeks to go until the U.S. presidential inauguration, Israel and the Sunni Arab states have cause to be concerned. Biden has expressed his intention to re-enter some sort of nuclear agreement with Tehran. Pundits speculate whether such a potential Biden-led agreement would be identical or differ from the original nuclear deal with Iran. Recently 150 House Democrats urged Biden to rejoin the original Iran nuclear deal without preconditions.
During President Donald Trump's administration, the tense relations between Iran and the U.S. deteriorated dramatically. In 2018, Trump declared that Washington was pulling out of the nuclear deal framework. Trump, who blasted the nuclear deal, argued that it rewarded Iran’s regional aggression and did not address Iran’s vast ballistic missile program.
In November 2020, Trump reportedly considered striking Iran’s nuclear sites but senior advisors, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, warned that it could spark a major regional conflict in the Middle East.
The probability of a U.S. strike on Iran’s nuclear sites ahead of the incoming Biden administration is fairly low, however not entirely to be dismissed. Trump has made unconventional decisions while in office including pulling out of the nuclear deal with Iran. Nevertheless, a surgical strike on Iran’s nuclear sites would sabotage Biden’s expected rapprochement with Iran.
If the Dar Al-Hayat report is accurate, it would not be the first time that Jerusalem has urged Washington to strike a nuclear site belonging to a hostile power. In 2007, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reportedly urged former President George W. Bush to bomb Syria’s covert nuclear reactor. While former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly supported a U.S. strike on Syria, Bush eventually decided against it, despite his sympathy for Israel.
As a result, Olmert ordered an Israeli strike that destroyed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s nuclear reactor. To date, Israel is the only country in the world that has struck nuclear reactors of enemy states. Prior to the Israeli strike on Syria’s nuclear reactor in 2007, former Prime Minister Menachem Begin ordered an Israeli strike on Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor Osirak in 1981 after the Iraqi despot threatened to destroy Israel.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.