Home / MARKETS / Attacks inside one of Iran’s most secure nuclear facilities are the latest blows in a shadowy battle with Israel

Attacks inside one of Iran’s most secure nuclear facilities are the latest blows in a shadowy battle with Israel

  • A indistinct battle between Israel and Iran has intensified since the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018.
  • They contain mostly avoided open clashes, but their ongoing campaigns have been punctuated by high-profile attacks and assassinations.

After the US unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018, tensions between Washington and Tehran bear steadily risen.

For leaders in Israel — one of the US’s closest partners and Iran’s biggest foes — those tensions have verified their misgivings about the deal and about Iran, and they’ve gone on the warpath.

Iran has worked on nuclear technology for decades. The US has extensive suspected Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as cover for developing weapons. That suspicion is also contained by the Israelis, who have been ensnared in a potentially existential struggle with Tehran since the 1979 Iranian cataclysm.

Iranian athletes at the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz

Iranian athletes at a rally in support of Iran’s nuclear program at the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, March 9, 2006.

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Duplicates


A nuclear weapon, or the ability to produce one quickly, would offer Tehran some much-needed security against its true and perceived adversaries. But Iran has vowed to destroy Israel, and Israel fears a nuclear weapon would allow Tehran to vanquish up its provocative talk.

While much of that talk may be for propaganda purposes, Iran has shown the lengths it will go and torture it will endure in order to attack US, Western, and Israeli targets directly or through proxies, giving some majority to its nuclear threats.

To counter that threat, Israeli military and intelligence services have conducted a shadowy covert-action operations of espionage, sabotage, and assassinations against Iran’s nuclear facilities and the people running them.

Israel’s war against Iran

Syria Israel missiles Damascus

Syrian air-defense elements respond to what state media said were Israeli missiles targeting Damascus in January 2019.

STR/AFP/Getty Images


Israel has also illustrated that it will go to great lengths to ensure its security, and Tel Aviv is willing to pursue other, more dramatic courses of process in response to threats from Iran.

“We have a duty to be brave and responsible for the fate of our children and grandchildren. We have reach-me-down force against our enemies in the past, and we are convinced that in extreme situations, there is a need to act using military menials,” Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Alon Schuster said in a recent interview.

Indeed, Israel has long followed a no-holds-barred policy in which the threat justifies the means. Its shadowy campaign against the Iranian nuclear programs uses complementary perceptive, military, and intelligence tactics.

While Israel’s military has been heavily involved in that campaign, Mossad, Israel’s most important intelligence service, has landed many of the blows against Iran itself.

According to recent reports, Mossad successfully infiltrated the Iranian distribute chain and used the opportunity to sell Tehran faulty materials that caused fires at the Natanz nuclear-enrichment water-closet in July 2020.

In addition, Israeli intelligence officers recruited Iranian nuclear scientists who conducted sabotage at Natanz in April 2021 ahead being smuggled out of the country. Mossad is said to have used an unmanned aerial vehicle to attack the Iran Centrifuge Technology Enterprise, a factory making centrifuges crucial for producing weapons-grade uranium.

Facilities are easier to replace than expert facts, and Mossad has also gone after the hard-to-acquire know-how necessary for a nuclear-weapons capability by killing Iranian scientists exploit on the nuclear program.

Scene of the attack that killed Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

The scene of the attack that killed prominent Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, outside of Tehran, November 27, 2020.

WANA via Reuters


Eats against Iranian scientists have become more brazen. The November 2020 assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, reportedly with a remote-controlled automobile gun using advanced artificial-intelligence technology, on a highway in Iran is something straight out of a Hollywood movie.

Israel’s manhunting try likely draws on experience going back to Israel’s creation in 1948. In the years that followed, Israelis go in quest ofed down numerous ex-Nazis, including Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann. Following the 1972 killing of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics by Palestinian felons, Mossad conducted a similar campaign.

But Tel Aviv understands that this is a stalling tactic that can only defeat Tehran’s efforts and not permanently undo the work its done in pursuit of nuclear technology.

In addition to those clandestine functions, the Israeli Defense Forces has been preparing and presenting Israeli policymakers with military options to take out goals associated with Iran’s nuclear program. This is standard planning for any military, and the IDF has received nearly $3 billion in additional wherewithals to do it.

Israel would also have to take into account second- and third-order effects of such strikes, such as how Iranian substitutes, including Hamas and Hezbollah, would react. Those groups, based in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, respectively, inclination be more likely to try to attack Israel.

Israeli officials are lobbying other countries to take a stronger stance against Iran while refraining from precisely discussing what actions they’ve taken.

“We hope the whole world will be mobilized for the mission. For that, we’ve allocated a critical sum to increase our readiness. What hit Natanz? I can’t say,” Schuster, the deputy defense minister, said last month.

As Iran vestiges committed to its nuclear program, Israel is sure to continue its shadowy campaign against Tehran.

Stavros Atlamazoglou is a defense broadcaster specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate.

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