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Tensions between the US and Iran mounted after Mr Trump’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018 and started imposing sanctions. America’s killing of Quds Force commander Maj Gen Qasem Soleimani at the beginning of this year only exacerbated existing pressures between the two nations, leading to fears of an all-out conflict.
According to American news website Axios, senior Israeli officials said the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were given orders to prepare for a potential US attack on Iran before US President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.
Anonymous senior sources said the outgoing President’s final months in the top job would be “a very sensitive period”.
They added that Israeli forces were also preparing for a possible strike by Iran on Israel.
An attack from Iran could either happen directly or through proxies in the Middle East.
Iran and Israel’s relations have been deteriorated for years.
Recently, Israeli forces confirmed they had executed retaliatory attacks on Iranian targets in Syria.
Israel Defense Forces’ official Twitter account announced the news, warning they were “prepared”.
The statement read: “What Iran & Syria did: placed improvised explosive devices by the Alpha Line to hit Israeli troops.
“What we did: just struck Iranian Quds Force & Syrian Armed Forces targets in Syria. We stand prepared to operate against Iranian entrenchment in Syria.”
Meanwhile, possible negotiations between Biden’s Administration and Tehran brought fresh hopes of a reconciliation between the US and Iran.
However Israel’s settlements Minister Tzachi Hanegbi warned if Mr Biden returns to the Iran deal, Israel and Iran will go to war.
Mr Hanegbi told the Jerusalem Post: “Biden has said openly for a long time that he will go back to the nuclear agreement. I see that as something that will lead to a confrontation between Israel and Iran.”
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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif previously expressed his regret over the ongoing tensions between Tehran and Washington.
He told the Institute for International Political Studies: “I believe the greatest sadness of my career is that I haven’t been able to get through to our neighbours that we need to live together, that we cannot live without each other, that we will be neighbours forever and we have to find a way to live together and not rely on outsiders for our security.”
Back in July, a spokesperson for the Pentagon claimed Iran was the “greatest threat” to world peace after armed “underground cities” were laid bare.
They told Newsweek: “Iran claims to want good relations with its neighbours, yet it continues to threaten them with even greater levels of violence. Iran is the greatest threat to peace and security in the Middle East. Statements like this demonstrate clearly that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its leaders are a destabilising force in the region.”
Kaleigh Thomas, Research Associate for the Middle East Security Program, told Express.co.uk the Tehran is looking to come back to the negotiating table from a “position of strength”.
She said before Mr Biden’s win: “I think we are seeing a game of brinkmanship to an extent, less so trying to push the other to misstep into a larger conflict, but trying to force the other to make concessions.
“Currently, the Trump administration has maintained and, as much as you can increase maximum pressure, has continued to put pressure on Iran and to bring them to the negotiation table where Iran is in the weaker position. Iran similarly has increased its aggression in the region as it wants to build leverage in any future negotiations.
“And I think whether or not you have a second term Trump presidency or a new administration with Biden, the Iranians are looking to make sure that when they do go back to the negotiation table, they are coming to that table from a position of strength. And the way they achieve that is through this regional aggression which puts pressure on the US to reduce tensions, hopefully diplomatically.”
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