Iran on Sunday decided to withdraw from all remaining “key” restrictions under the Iran nuclear deal in what was described as the fifth and final such step, just days after Iran’s top spymaster general was killed in an American attack. Meanwhile, Israel reiterated their support for United States President Donald Trump’s decision to kill Iranian Qods Force commander General Qassem Soleimani, while Iran threatened Israel if the Jews didn’t return to Europe as part of their reaction to Soleimani’s death.
The Iranian government, according to PressTV, announced that they would no longer observe any restrictions on the level or amount of uranium enrichment for nuclear fuel, a critical component of the nuclear accord known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Iranian statement specifically said they would end restrictions on their number of centrifuges, which can be used to make nuclear fuel for civilian and military purposes. PressTV quoted the statement as saying the move “eliminates the last key operational restriction” under the JCPOA.
The Iranian decision comes as part of their months-long process of reducing their observance of the nuclear deal in an effort to pressure European nations into providing economic benefits to Iran to counter US sanctions. However, the move also comes just two days after Soleimani’s death, an attack that received Israel’s support and led to brutal threats against Israel from Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday repeated his country’s support for the US act of self-defense in taking out Soleimani. “Qassem Soleimani brought about the death of many American citizens and many other innocents in recent decades and at present. Soleimani initiated, planned and carried out many terrorist attacks throughout the Middle East and beyond,” said Netanyahu in comments published by his office.
“President Trump is deserving of all esteem for taking determined, strong and quick action. I would like to reiterate—Israel fully stands alongside the US in the just struggle for security, peace and self-defense.”
While Israel was not officially involved in the American killing of Soleimani, that hasn’t stopped Iran from openly threatening to attack Israel. The same day as Soleimani’s death, Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Deputy Commander for Coordination Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi—while speaking about Iran’s revenge for Soleimani—was quoted as saying Israelis should “return” to Europe or else.
“The Zionist regime must pack their bags and return to European countries where they originally belong to, or they should wait for the strong blow of the Islamic nation,” Naqdi was quoted by the Fars News Agency as saying. This followed his threat to the US that the Americans should either shut down their Middle East military bases or buy coffins for US troops.
While Iran was threatening both the US and Israel, the Americans and Jewish State are touting their support for one another. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke with Netanyahu on Saturday to discuss the situation and “Iran’s continued provocations and threats to the region,” according to a press release from the US State Department. Pompeo also “underscored the Trump Administration’s resolve in protecting American interests, personnel, facilities and partners”—implying defense of Israel as well.
In a Twitter post following up on the call to Netanyahu, Pompeo said he is “always grateful for Israel’s steadfast support in defeating terrorism. The bond between Israel and the United States is unbreakable.”
For his part, Netanyahu made it clear from the beginning that Israel backed the Americans after their decision to kill Soleimani, the Iranian general responsible for exporting the Iranian revolution’s ideals through war, terrorism and more. The same day as the US attack, Netanyahu called the killing an act of self-defense.
“Just as Israel has the right of self-defense, the United States has exactly the same right. Qassem Soleimani is responsible for the death of American citizens and many other innocent people. He was planning more such attacks,” said Netanyahu in comments released by his office last Friday.
“President Trump deserves all the credit for acting swiftly, forcefully and decisively. Israel stands with the United States in its just struggle for peace, security and self-defense.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, January 5, 2020)