‘US, Iran row may get even tenser’

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Foreign Desk Report

WASHINGTON: Some US media has reported that the United States and Israel are involved in a joint strategy to conduct clandestine strikes on Iran’s nukes sites and carry out hits on certain generals. It remains unclear if this assertion from a recent New York Times report is accurate. But if it is, that could lead to increased ire between Washington and Tehran — at a time when tensions are already running high.
Iranian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Monday said during a press conference that Iran would “react decisively” if it is found that any government was involved in the recent explosion at the country’s Natanz nuclear facility. Speculation is rife over who masterminded the strike, and whether the United States or Israel were involved.
The New York Times reported Friday that some officials said a “joint American-Israeli strategy was evolving some might argue regressing to a series of short-of-war clandestine strikes, aimed at taking out the most prominent generals of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and setting back Iran’s nuclear facilities.”
A fire broke out at a petrochemical complex in southwestern Iran city of Mahshahr on Sunday, according to the ISNA news agency. Local officials said the fire was caused by an oil leak and did not lead to casualties and damage. One day before the blaze, a gas explosion shook a residential building in Tehran, leaving one person injured, the ISNA quoted the city’s fire department as saying. While the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has not announced a more aggressive stance against Iran, Brian Hook, the State Department’s special envoy for Iran, said last month that “timidity and weakness invite more Iranian aggression.”
“It sounds plausible,” David Pollock, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Xinhua, speaking of the possibility of a U.S.-Israeli joint strategy, such as the one the Times reported.
The Stuxnet cyberattack, revealed in 2010, has caused substantial damage to the nuclear program of Iran. Although neither country has openly admitted responsibility, the computer worm is widely believed to be a cyberweapon built jointly by the United States and Israel.
Recent attacks are similar to what happened a decade ago with the Stuxnet attack, “so I think that’s probably what we’re seeing here,” Pollock said.