The Times of Israel reported on Saturday that the American President Donald Trump is planning to carry out “covert operations” against Iran in his final days in the Oval House. Quoting a TV report, the newspaper claimed that Trump is also set to levy economic sanctions on Iran. The report argues that Iran will not be able to marshal a military response against the US till the end of Trump’s term.
The report was presented on Channel 13, an Israeli news channel. The report makes many claims but does not elaborate much. It argues that Israel and the United States have carried out several covert operations against Iran’s nuclear program, including the infiltration of the Stuxnet computer virus in the Iranian servers to sabotage parts of the nuclear enrichment process almost a decade ago. The virus, first uncovered in 2010, is believed to have caused substantial damage to Iran’s nuclear program.
The report argues that Israel has been involved in multiple killings of Iranian scientists involved in the nuclear program. The New York Times reported last week that Israel has also killed Al-Qaeda’s Abu Muhammad al Masri in Tehran in August at America’s behest.
The Times also reported on Monday that Donald Trump had convened a meeting with his top advisers to ask if he had any option of striking the Iranian nuclear sites within the last weeks of his presidency. He was reasoned out of the thought, as it could potentially lead to a wider conflict.
International Atomic Energy Agency said in November this year that Iran has stockpiled 2,442.9kg enriched Uranium, 12 times more than what the 2015 nuclear deal allows.
The report also went on to say that the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad and the Iranian Defense Forces are looking forward to the expected return of the US President-elect Joe Biden’s negotiations with Iran over the nuclear deal, which he was vowed to enter after taking office. Biden lambasted Trump during the campaign trails for abandoning the 2015 nuclear deal and vowed to renew it after taking the presidency. IDF and Mossad aim to work with the US to secure a more favourable deal for Iran, the report said.
Joe Biden is expected of taking a more mild and conciliatory approach towards Iran that Donald Trump, who has repeatedly levied incapacitating sanctions on Iran and allowed the killing of its top general in January this year, a move that prompted Iran to shoot down a Ukrainian aircraft that killed 178 souls onboard.
Israeli officials believe that Iran is fearful of provoking the United States until Trump is in the office, fearing forceful retaliation. “If Iran and its proxies engage in military activities and terrorist activities that kill Americans, they’re going to be sorry”, one Israeli official said on a news channel.
The report said that Iraqi officials also claim that Iran has alerted its allies in the Middle East to avoid provoking tensions with the United States that could cause the Trump administration to attack Iran.
The nuclear deal was signed between the United States and Iran in 2015 during the Obama presidency when Joe Biden was serving as the Vice-President. Donald Trump pulled out of the deal and began imposing crushing economic sanctions on Iran – a move that was cheered by the Israeli officials. Iran retaliated by producing more and more highly enriched fissile material, increasingly getting closer to a nuclear bomb.
Trump is reportedly planning to impose a multitude of sanctions on Iran to make it difficult for the incoming Biden presidency to re-enter the deal.