Iran may wait to react to the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the father of its nuclear program, with any kind of military force until the end of the Trump era, former IDF intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin claimed on Sunday.
Speaking at a Media Central virtual press event, Yadlin, who is the Institute for National Security Studies executive director, claimed that while in the case of the assassination of Qasem Soleimani, the chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force “the US took responsibility” and Tehran responded by firing “dozens of missiles at a US base in Iraq,” here, “no one took responsibility,” so Iran may “postpone at least until the last days of Trump, since they do not want to give him enough time to use [their] retaliation as a trigger to a US attack” on them.
Yadlin explained that despite Iran’s accusations of Israeli involvement in killing Fakhrizadeh, the fact that Jerusalem has not taken responsibility gives the ayatollahs a way out from having to respond loudly and immediately.
Further, the former military intelligence chief said he thought that Iran’s anger at whoever undertook the assassination would be overcome by the fear that any reaction would bring on the far greater wrath of Trump.
But if the Islamic Republic responds in the last days of Trump’s presidency, or during the early days of the incoming Biden administration, the risk of incurring massive US retaliation would be much lower.
Yadlin noted that the harshest option for Iran might be to launch ballistic missiles on Israel, as it did against Saudi Arabia last year.
However, he said it might just as likely “react in accelerating the nuclear program. The overt one. They have already done it since May 2019. They can enrich more [uranium], they can enrich [it] to a higher level, they can install advanced centrifuges. This would be a strategic reaction or step.”
Finally, he noted that any of Iran’s proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, Iraq or elsewhere could be used to retaliate by firing rockets which would be dangerous, but less inflammatory than Iran using its own ballistic missiles.