14:24 GMT +319 January 2020
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    On Wednesday, Israeli Defence Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi said that his country is preparing for a “limited confrontation with Iran”, claiming that Tehran is continuing its policy of entrenchment in Syria and Iraq, an allegation the Islamic Republic has repeatedly denied.

    Mossad chief Yossi Cohen told reporters on Saturday that Iran remains at the top of the Israeli secret service’s “work priorities".

    He added that “all Iranian nuclear, long-range missile and precision missile activities”, as well as its regional role "are a challenge to the security [of the Jewish state]”.

    The statement comes after Israeli military chief of staff Aviv Kochavi said on Wednesday that Tel Aviv does not exclude a further escalation of tensions with Tehran.

    “There is a possibility that we will face a limited confrontation with Iran and we are preparing for it. We will not allow Iran to entrench itself in Syria, or in Iraq”, Kochavi pointed out.

    Tel Aviv Accuses Tehran of Trying to Obtain Nuclear Weapon

    Israel has repeatedly accused Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons and reportedly engaged in organised sabotage targeting its nuclear sites, including the notorious Stuxnet computer worm attack, which damaged at least several enrichment centrifuges.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the most vocal claims during his speeches at the UN in 2012 and 2018, when he accused Iran of running a secret programme to build nukes.

    Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in New York (September 27, 2012).
    © AFP 2019 / Don Emmert
    Benjamin Netanyahu at the United Nations in New York (September 27, 2012).

    Iran vehemently denies these accusations and argues that its religion prohibits the production and use of nuclear weapons.

    Attempting to lift economic sanctions and alleviate concerns regarding its nuclear programme for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, Tehran signed in 2015 the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, limiting its capabilities in this sphere.

    Israel-Iran Row Over Syria

    Israel, which views Iran and the militant group Hezbollah to be among its main rivals in the region, previously admitted to conducting hundreds of airstrikes against Syria over the past several years, claiming that they were aimed at countering a professed Iranian military presence in the country.

    While Damascus has strongly condemned the strikes as a violation of its sovereignty, Tehran has repeatedly stressed that its presence in Syria has been limited to sending advisers to help fight terrorism.

    Right now, there are no diplomatic relations between Tehran and Tel Aviv as the Islamic Republic denies the Jewish state’s right to exist, threatening to wipe it off the map in the event of any "misadventure” by Israel.

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    Tags:
    nuclear weapons, confrontation, security, challenge, Mossad, Iran, Israel
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