Israel may attack Iranian nuclear facilities as US abandons nuke deal: expert

Israel is likely to launch a destructive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities after President Donald Trump unilaterally decided to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal and re-impose sanctions on Tehran, according to an expert.

Because of his background as businessman, Trump is a man who lays more emphasis on whether his foreign policy will produce actual results than morality, Gao Shangtao, a professor of international relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, told Sino-US.com.

"If multilateralism can help protect America's interests [in the Middle East], Trump will support multilateralism. If not, he will resort to unilateralism to safeguard America's interests in the region," said Gao.

Earlier this month, Trump shook the world by claiming that the United States would quit the Iran nuclear deal three years after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was signed, saying that the agreement inked under the presidency of Obama failed to rein in Tehran's nuclear ambition.

Gao said that the withdrawal of the Iran nuclear agreement symbolizes Trump's unilateral mindset, after the US president encountered failure in seeking some European allies' support to modify the deal, under which Iran agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in return for the lifting of the hefty economic sanctions.

Trump's European allies still believe that the Iran nuclear deal can play a vital role in maintaining security in the Middle East. And recently, the foreign ministers of the United Kingdom, France and Germany reached an agreement with Iranian foreign minister on a nine-point economic plan to rescue the Iran nuclear deal. The economic plan is seen as an alternative solution after Trump announced to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and restart economic sanctions on Tehran.

In Gao's opinion, the policy to quit the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump thinks can lead to Iran's abandonment of its nuclear program, is questionable, especially when resource-rich Iran can develop independently and has a strong belief to defend itself.

When being asked to comment on speculations that the Trump administration is also considering overthrowing the Iranian regime, Gao said that it would be a difficult task for the United States because it needs massive military power projection and consumes too many resources.

The professor predicted that America's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal would lead to two crippling consequences. One is that Iran would resume its uranium enrichment activities, triggering international concerns over the prospects of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The other is that it might result in Israeli strikes on Iran's nuclear and military facilities. Currently, Israel holds back from taking military action against Iran for fear of Russia’s military intervention. If Russian keeps neutral, Israel would start military operations in Iran without hesitation, predicted Gao.

But Gao thinks that America's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal would not affect the ongoing negotiation about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, saying that it depends on whether the United States could abandon its hostile policy toward Pyongyang.

However, on Wednesday, North Korea said that it would reconsider the summit between its top leader Kim Jong-un and Trump scheduled to take place next month in Singapore in protest against the joint military drills of the United States and its ally South Korea. It casts a shadow on the upcoming Kim-Trump meeting, which will be the first summit between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader. The abrupt announcement by North Korea came as Pyongyang cancelled talks with South Korean officials that had been scheduled for Wednesday, striking a sharp contrast to Kim's diplomatic gesture at his meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in April.
 


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