Iranian Tensions With US, Israel Escalate

  • Iran is adding air defense systems around the nuclear facilities.
  • Israel believes Iran has enough uranium to build an atomic bomb.
  • US could order strikes on the Iranian nuclear facilities.

On December 24th, Iranian officials made a statement regarding the deployment of additional air defense systems. The Russian-made systems will be deployed under emergency measures. They will be strategically positioned near Iranian nuclear facilities to guard against possible US or Israeli strikes against them.

Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) is an Iranian underground uranium enrichment facility located 20 miles (32 km) northeast of the Iranian city of Qom, near Fordow village at a former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps base. Existence of the then-unfinished enrichment plant was disclosed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by Iran on 21 September 2009, but only after the site became known to Western intelligence services.

The US released satellite images of the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, an Iranian underground uranium enrichment facility located 20 miles northeast of the Iranian city of Qom, near Fordow village, at a former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps base. The site is under the control of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

The Trump administration continues to accuse Iran of raising the uranium enrichment rate to 4.5%. Additionally, Iran has been ramping up enrichment at the Natanz and Fordow plants with state-of-the-art centrifuges this month. Of course, Israel immediately made a statement that Iran has enough uranium to build an atomic bomb. Overall, there are 17 nuclear facilities in Iran.

Israel fired rockets into Syria on Christmas Day. It should be noted that there are Christians in Syria, so to do this on Christmas is cunning and in poor taste. However, Syria claims their air defenses managed to shoot down most of the rockets by the Israeli army.

The area targeted is in the western part of Hama Province, in Syria. The information regarding the rockets fired into Syria was released by the Syrian media. There is also a video of the attacks that has been tweeted by the Lebanese.

According to multiple independent sources, the air strikes were carried out from Lebanese air space. Russia immediately offered to provide more air defense systems to Syria.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal or Iran deal, is an agreement on the Iranian nuclear program reached in Vienna on July 14, 2015, between Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany) together with the European Union.

However, there is a chance the outgoing US President, Donald Trump, will order an attack on Iran. After President Trump failed to win re-election in November, he imposed new sanctions on Russia. It is plausible that given President Trump’s son in law’s very close ties with Israel, the strikes could be done in conjunction with Israel.

It should be noted that on December 23, the US Navy announced the transfer of the nuclear strike force to the Persian Gulf.  It is highly likely that the newly-elected US President, Joe Biden, will be able to come to a consensus with Iran.

Nevertheless, if President Trump decides to to target the Iranian nuclear facilities, it would cause serious tensions in the Middle East. Additionally, it could have an adverse impact on the US economy, which is already feeling the impacts of the prolonged lockdowns, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

President Trump can’t start a full-blown war with Iran right before leaving office. Also, an attack on Iran, could create an adverse scenario for Israel. Iran already believes that Israel is responsible for the recent assassinations of key Iranian nuclear figures.

Therefore, a US attack could force Iran to attack Israel. Israel would have a very challenging time finding allies in the Middle East.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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