Israel's defense minister threatens Iran with military strike after deadly drone attack
Israel's defense minister said his country is prepared to attack Iran.
- "We are at a point where we need to take military action against Iran," Gantz said Thursday.
- This came after a deadly drone strike on an Israeli-managed tanker that Israel, the US, and UK blamed on Iran.
Israeli Defense Minister
"We are at a point where we need to take military action against Iran," Gantz told the
The US, UK, and Israel blamed Iran for the drone strike, which targeted a tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire, though none of the countries have brought forward evidence to substantiate the allegation. Two crewmembers - a British national and a Romanian citizen - were killed. Iran denied any involvement in the fatal drone attack.
Iran has been linked to or accused of a number of attacks on oil tankers in the region since 2019 amid growing tensions with Israel and the West, largely a product of President Donald Trump's controversial decision to withdraw the US from the 2015 nuclear deal. Iranian oil tankers have also been attacked.
In a tweet on Thursday responding to Gantz, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said, "In another brazen violation of Int'l law, Israeli regime now blatantly threatens #Iran with military action. Such malign behavior stems from blind Western support. We state this clearly: ANY foolish act against Iran will be met with a DECISIVE response. Don't test us."
Gantz's warning to Tehran on Thursday came as Iran swore in a new president, Ebrahim Raisi. It also came with talks aimed at reviving the 2015 deal - which the Israeli government opposes - still up in the air, and with the US increasingly warning that time is running out to save the agreement.
Raisi is a hardliner and protégé of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has made it clear he's not especially interested in diplomacy with the US or its allies - though he's endorsed the talks aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear agreement.
After being sworn-in, Raisi reiterated the Iranian government's call for the US to lift economic sanctions.
"The Iranian people expect the new government to improve their livelihoods," Raisi said, per Reuters "All illegal U.S. sanctions against the Iranian nation must be lifted."
The 2015 nuclear deal sought to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon in exchange for relief from economic sanctions. After abandoning the deal, Trump imposed harsh sanctions on Iran as part of a "maximum pressure" strategy that aimed to push Tehran into negotiating a more stringent version of the 2015 pact. Trump's approach did not work, and largely served to increase tensions between the US and Iran while sparking fears of a new conflict in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Iran gradually took steps away from the limitations placed on its nuclear program under the deal.
President Joe Biden made reviving the 2015 deal a top foreign policy priority, and US and Iranian negotiators have engaged in six rounds of indirect talks in Vienna aimed at bringing it back to life. But Iran in July moved to stall the talks as it prepared to inaugurate Raisi.
Iran has maintained it will not return to compliance with the 2015 pact until the US lifts sanctions, while the Biden administration has insisted that Tehran show it's behaving in accordance with the deal before providing sanctions relief.
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