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Israel’s new ‘quantum leap’ strike jets challenge Iran

Patrick Megahan, Behnam Ben Taleblu
8th January 2017 - Quoted by Ed Blanche - The Arab Weekly

Israel recently took delivery of the first of 50 F-35I stealth fighters, considered the most advanced combat jet in the world, from the United States, an event that marks a new and po­tentially critical phase in the Jewish state’s dealings with Iran.

The December 12th arrival of two of the jets at Nevatim air base in the Negev Desert of southern Israel was greeted with great fanfare as ten­sions with Iran mount amid the vio­lent upheavals sweeping the Middle East and the gathering momentum of the Islamic Republic’s expansion­ist strategy.

Iran’s large-scale military deploy­ment in Syria to prop up its key Arab ally, President Bashar Assad, means the Islamic Republic has its forces, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, deeply entrenched on Israel’s north­ern border. This is causing unease in Israel.

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This, observed Behnam Ben Tale­blu and Patrick Megahan of the Washington-based Federation for the Defense of Democracies, “sheds light on what the Islamic Republic believes requires defending” and “raises questions as to Tehran’s fu­ture nuclear intentions”.

Under the 2015 agreement, which bans all Iranian enrichment activ­ity for 15 years, Fordow, built to withstand all but the most powerful conventional bunker-buster bombs, was supposed to be transformed into a research centre with interna­tional assistance.

That would not need air defences. So, Ben Taleblu and Megahan con­cluded, by deploying the S-300s around Fordow “Iran appears to be sending a message that despite the JCPOA it is keeping its nuclear op­tions open”.

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Tags

iran, israel, syria