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2 Jul, 2019 19:52

Israel ‘preparing’ for military involvement if US-Iran tensions erupt into confrontation

Israel ‘preparing’ for military involvement if US-Iran tensions erupt into confrontation

Amid escalating tensions in the region, Israel has said it is preparing for possible military involvement in a confrontation between the US and Iran.

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz warned an international security forum on Tuesday that the situation might be brought out of the “gray zone” and into the “red zone” of “military conflagration” if Iran makes any “mistaken calculations.”

Israel, Katz said, “must be prepared” for such an escalation and continues to “devote itself to building up its military might” in the event that it would have to “respond to escalation scenarios.”

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The comments came after a senior Iranian lawmaker warned on Monday that if the US attacks Iran, Tehran will respond and “only half an hour will remain of Israel’s lifespan.”

The two nations frequently exchange threats and Israel has previously threatened to take military action against Iran to prevent it from making nuclear weapons, though Tehran has denied it is trying to produce the bombs.

Israel has been a major supporter of US President Donald Trump’s aggressive “maximum pressure” policy against Iran, including the economic sanctions Washington has used to strangle the country’s economy. Katz predicted that the “economic war” on Iran would be successful despite the lack of enthusiasm for it shown by Europe and other powers — a source of frustration in Washington.

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Tensions between the US and Iran has been mounting for months, with the US accusing Tehran of attacking two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in June. Iran later shot down an American spy drone which it said had entered its airspace, prompting Trump to consider a military strike which he backed away from at the last minute.

Washington accused Tehran of "playing with fire" on Monday after it announced that it had breached uranium enrichment limits under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal. 

Trump abandoned the deal last year, calling it a “disaster” and the “worst deal ever” but expected Tehran to remain compliant. The White House also alleged on Monday that Tehran had violated the terms of the deal before it even existed.

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