Last week, Israel signaled it was capable of defending itself by announcing a $1.5 billion boost to its designated budget against Iran’s nuclear program.
By Tobias Siegal, World Israel News
Iran sent a direct threat to Israel on Sunday amid reports of Israel’s defense budget against an Iranian nuclear threat receiving a $1.5 billion boost last week.
Ali Shamkhani, who serves as secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), “advised” the Jewish State to reconsider the allocated budget and instead invest the money in repairing the damage that will be caused by Iran’s “shocking response.”
“Instead of allocating 1.5 billion dollars budget for atrocities against #Iran, the Zionist regime should focus on providing tens of thousands of billion dollars funding to repair the damage that is going to be caused by Iran’s shocking response,” Shamkhani wrote on Twitter.
The designated budget is seen as an attempt to signal to both Washington and Tehran that Israel is capable of defending itself, an issue raised repeatedly both in the U.S. and in Israel, especially after the recent attempt by left-wing U.S. lawmakers to block funding for Israel’s Iron Dome air defense system.
On Saturday, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, said in an interview with NBC News that the organization’s ongoing oversight of the country’s nuclear program is “no longer intact.”
Grossi, a firm supporter of U.S. efforts to renew negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, said that if this concerning trend continues and “diplomacy fails, you may be confronted with a situation that would have enormous political impact and reverberations in the Middle East and beyond.”
But diplomatic talks with Iran have been stalled by Tehran since July and Western powers like the U.S. and Germany have said that they are losing their patience.
Accordingly, the U.S. has indicated on several occasions that it was considering alternative courses of action in case the diplomatic avenue with Iran fails.
Discussing the Iranian threat with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Washington earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that other options” are on the table if the Islamic Republic does not agree to curb its nuclear program in the near future.
However, this notion was undermined by U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who admitted during a meeting with his Israeli counterpart Eyal Hulata that President Joe Biden was still convinced that diplomacy was the best way to deal with Iran and to ensure it never obtains a nuclear weapon.
About a week after that meeting, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that American appeasement of Iran may soon force Israel into taking military action against Iran. “The current administration wants to re-enter the deal,” he said while visiting Jerusalem. “We were never going to let Iran get a nuclear weapon on our watch,” he added, claiming that had Trump stayed in power for just an extra year or two, the U.S. and Israel could have ensured that Iran would not realize its nuclear ambitions.