Last week, according to the New York Times, a powerful Iranian intelligence chief lost his job after a series of successful acts of sabotage, thought by many inside and outside of the Islamic Republic to have been carried out by the Mossad. Attributed to Israel are various suspicious explosions at sites connected to the Iranian nuclear program as well as the killing of seven members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in May and June—including two colonels. Eyal Zisser comments on the American reaction:
It is unclear why every time an explosion is reported at one of the nuclear facilities in Iran or a senior Revolutionary Guards official meets his end at the entrance to his home in the heart of Tehran, senior anonymous officials in Washington lets it be known that the U.S. was not responsible for the act and insinuate that responsibility lies with and—and that the resulting act of vengeance should be directed at—Israel.
The U.S. is Israel’s most important ally, and a few anonymous officials must not be allowed to place the American friendship and commitment to Israel’s security in question. . . . Nevertheless, there is something both unclear and unhealthy about these repeated leaks that insinuate Israel is behind regional tensions.
As the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin said, Israel is not a vassal state of the U.S. and does not need U.S. approval for any move. . . . Moreover, American concerns over Iran are neither understandable nor justified. Iran is a large and important country, and there is no need to start a war with it unnecessarily. But at the same time, there is no need to exaggerate its power.
Israel has proven over the last decade that one can set red lines for the Iranians and thwart their activity. It has also proven that Tehran is limited in its ability to retaliate and is deterred from conflict. . . . It is inappropriate for officials in Washington to try to hide behind Israel’s apron strings and place the blame on us.