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Iran-Israel restraint may hinge on nuclear deal

As tensions between Iran and Israel reach new highs, saving the nuclear deal could be the only path to containing further dangerous escalation in the region.

Hostility between Iran and Israel is nothing new, but May 10 marked a high point. Israel reportedly launched a limited missile strike targeting Syria’s Quneitra district. The attack was followed by a series of rockets fired from Syria toward the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Tel Aviv immediately charged Quds Force leader Qassem Soleimani with having orchestrated the attack, and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said May 10 that Israel had hit almost all of Iran’s infrastructure in Syria in response.

Iran has for the most part remained silent. On May 10, two Iranian lawmakers denied that Iran had any role in the rocket attack, saying that it had nothing to gain by attacking the Golan Heights. They added that if Iran had carried out the attack, it would not hesitate to claim responsibility for it, just as it did after its ballistic missile attack on Islamic State bases in eastern Syria last year. While it is unclear whether Iran was behind the rocket attack, it can be safely assumed that it would not have happened without Tehran’s backing, given Iranian officials’ repeated warnings to Israel that it would receive a response for its provocative and sporadic attacks on sites in Syria.

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