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Israel may act independently on Iran as US turns its back, top Israeli minister warns

Jerusalem/Washington: Senior Israeli leader, Tzachi Hanegbi said that ‘The United States will never attack Iran’s nuclear program. Israel would have to certainly decide whether to come to terms with a nuclear-armed Iran or to act independently to avoid the threat.’ The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, which the US deployed for the Persian Gulf, has been withdrawn from the region. The move has drawn Israel’s ire. 

The USS Nimitz was deployed in the Persian Gulf a few weeks ago by then-US President Donald Trump. The Trump administration had announced the deployment in the wake of growing tensions in the region due to Iran‘s rising military activities. However, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told the media that he had ordered the USS Nimitz to leave the Persian Gulf on Tuesday. 

‘The United States has made heavy deployments in the region to respond to developments in the Middle East. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has instructed the removal of the massive aircraft carrier deployed in the area saying it was no longer required,’ Kirby said. After Kirby’s announcement, Hanegbi, a senior Israeli minister and a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, briefed Israel on the situation. 

Hanegbi has stated that ‘Israel must not expect the United States to attack the country’s nuclear program due to the growing threat from Iran’s nuclear program.’ In his interview to a radio channel, Hanegbi asserted that ‘the Biden administration cannot attack Iran as it is stepping up efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran. It’s possible that in the future there will be no choice but to attack Iran militarily independently. The Israeli leadership will have to make tough decisions in that regard.’ 

Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz in 300 kms 186 (miles) south of capital Tehran, Iran, Monday April, 9, 2007. Iran announced Monday that it has begun enriching uranium with 3,000 centrifuges, a dramatic expansion of a nuclear program that has drawn U.N. sanctions and condemnation from the West. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at a ceremony at the enrichment facility at Natanz that Iran was now capable of enriching nuclear fuel “on an industrial scale.” Asked if Iran has begun injecting uranium gas into 3,000 centrifuges for enrichment, top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani replied, “Yes.” He did not elaborate, but it was the first confirmation that Iran had installed the larger set of centrifuges after months of saying it intends to do so. (AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian)

US President Joe Biden has hinted at reaching a nuclear deal with Iran since he took office. Meanwhile, Israeli and Middle Eastern media have criticized the Biden administration for failing to maintain pressure on Iran. Hanegbi’s reaction makes evident the growing resentment among allies in the Middle East – Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) against the Biden administration’s stance. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be visiting the UAE in the next few days. The visit will be the Israeli Prime Minister’s first historical tour of the Middle East. Moreover, Netanyahu’s visit to the UAE assumes significance given the Biden administration stance and growing tensions with Iran. 

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