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The “love-hate relationship” between Israel and Iran

Love-Hate Relationship

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran, dating back to the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982, has escalated with recent attacks on each other’s territory. The long-standing animosity between the two countries, exacerbated by the US’s involvement in the region, highlights the complex geopolitical dynamics in the Middle East.

With accusations of nuclear ambitions, covert wars, and tit-for-tat exchanges, both sides are vowing to respond to any attacks on their soil. President Biden’s commitment to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, coupled with Israel’s suspected air strikes on Iranian targets and Iran’s retaliatory attacks on Israeli territory, underscores the volatile nature of the ongoing conflict and the challenges of finding a diplomatic resolution.

Key Concepts

  • Ongoing tensions between Israel and Iran have escalated with recent attacks on each other’s territory.
  • The conflict dates back to the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982.
  • Hezbollah was created with support from Iran after Israel invaded Lebanon.
  • The conflict involves covert wars and attacks by land, sea, air, and cyber.
  • Both sides are part of a wider escalation in the Middle East.
  • Iran and Hezbollah have been accused of orchestrating deadly bombings in Argentina.
  • Iran’s secret uranium enrichment program raised concerns about nuclear weapons development.
  • Israel fought a war with Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006.
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader has called Israel a “dangerous and deadly cancer.”
  • The US’s involvement in the region has exacerbated tensions between Israel and Iran.
  • President Biden committed to preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon during his visit to Israel.
  • Israel carried out a suspected air strike on the Iranian Embassy in Damascus in 2024.
  • Iran retaliated with a direct attack on Israeli territory, leading to an Israeli counterattack.
  • Israel has not confirmed or denied responsibility for the initial air strike.

Israel reportedly launched an attack on Iranian territory on Friday (April 19), the latest tit-for-tat exchange between the two Middle Eastern foes. This shows that the long-standing “shadow war” between Israel and Iran has directly surfaced.

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After Iran fired drones and missiles at Israel on April 13, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that Israel would respond. The move was Tehran’s first attack on Israeli soil in retaliation for Israel’s suspected airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, the Syrian capital, on April 1.

The conflict between Israel and Iran is part of a wider escalation in the Middle East since the war in Gaza began last year. The two countries’ animosity goes back decades, with both sides engaging in a series of covert wars and attacks by land, sea, air and cyber.

In 1979, opposition to Israel became ideological after Iran’s pro-Western leader, Mohammed Reza Shah, who viewed Israel as an ally, was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution, which established a new theocratic regime. inevitable requirement.

In 1982, following Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards assisted Lebanese Shia Muslims in establishing Hezbollah. Israel ultimately views Hezbollah as its most dangerous enemy on its borders.

In 1983, Hezbollah, backed by Iran, used suicide bombings to drive Western and Israeli forces out of Lebanon. In November, Israel withdrew its troops from most of Lebanon after a car packed with explosives stormed the Israeli military headquarters.

1992-1994 Argentina and Israel accused Iran and Hezbollah of orchestrating suicide bombings at the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and at a Jewish center in the city in 1994. Dozens of people died. But Iran and Hezbollah deny any wrongdoing.

In 2002, it was revealed that Iran had a secret uranium enrichment program, which triggered concerns that it was trying to build nuclear weapons, but Iran denied it. Israel urges the international community to take tough action against Tehran.

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In 2006, Israel fought a month-long war with Hezbollah in Lebanon in an unsuccessful attempt to annihilate Hezbollah.

In 2009, in a speech, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Israel a “dangerous and deadly cancer.”

In 2010, the Stuxnet computer virus, widely believed to have been developed by the United States and Israel, attacked the computer network of the Natanz nuclear facility. This is the first publicly known cyberattack on an industrial facility.

In 2012, Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan was killed in Tehran when a motorcyclist planted a bomb on his car. A Tehran official blamed Israel for the attack.

In 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised then-U.S. President Donald Trump for withdrawing from the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers. He had long lobbied countries to oppose the nuclear agreement and said Trump’s decision was a “historic move.”

In May of this year, Israel attacked Iranian military infrastructure in Syria after Iranian troops fired rockets into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

In 2020, Qassem Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, was killed in a US drone attack on Baghdad. Iran launched missile attacks on bases in Iraq housing US troops in retaliation, injuring about 100 US troops.

In 2021, Iran accused Israel of assassinating Iranian nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, whom Western intelligence services believe was the mastermind behind the secret development of nuclear weapons capabilities. Tehran has long denied any such ambitions.

In 2022, US President Joe Biden and then-Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid signed a joint pledge vowing to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons in a show of long-term diplomatic presence with Tehran Unity among divided allies.

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The commitment was part of Biden’s “Jerusalem Declaration” during his first visit to Israel as president after Biden told a local TV station that he would not rule out taking “last resort” measures to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

In 2024, Israel carried out a suspected air strike on the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, killing seven Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officers, including two senior commanders. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied responsibility.

On April 13, Iran launched an unprecedented direct attack on Israeli territory with a series of drones and missiles. This led to an Israeli attack on Iranian territory on April 19, according to people familiar with the matter.

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