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Old allies and new weapons. Iran remains a Middle Eastern threat

As Israel considers a response after Sunday’s unprecedented attack by Iranian drones and missiles on its territory, observers describe the fabric of relations and threats in the region. Iran is consolidating its influence through a network of armed groups, strengthening cooperation with Russia, and experts warn of its nuclear program.

Iran attacked Israel with drones and ballistic missiles.

| Photo: CTK/Nir Keidar/Anadolu

Although it is Iran heir to the ancient glory of the ancient Persian Empire, on today Middle East he was left with an outsider status at least since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. The American newspaper The New York Times forgot, that such is the fate of a country that speaks Persian and adheres to the Shia version of Islam in an Arabic-speaking area of ​​Sunni Islam.

Tensions between Iran and Israel on Sunday night resulted in an open attack:

Iran attacked Israel with drones and ballistic missiles.

Conflict in the Middle East: What preceded Iran’s open attack on Israel

The paper points out that it is among the Shiite co-religionists that Iran is mostly looking for allies. As these are often marginalized groups in their own countries, it helps shape them into armed forces. It then supports them with money, supplies of weapons and training.

Precisely because of his position on the sidelines, despite his Sunni faith, he also chose a Palestinian as an ally Hamas, who, after decades of fighting with Israel, last October 7 committed a mass terrorist attack in the south of the country, where he murdered over 1,200 people. Israel responded by invading the Gaza Strip. Premier Benjamin Netanyahu the goal of the campaign is the complete elimination of Hamas, but after half a year of fighting, the offensive remains without an obvious result.

For the oldest, largest and best foreign group linked to Iran labeled The New York Times Lebanese Hezbollah. According to analysts, its discipline and organization surpasses many regular armies in the region.

Why did Iran attack Israel and what will be the impact:

Iran's attack on Israel provoked enthusiastic reactions in Tehran

All about Iran’s attack on Israel: Why it started, what will be the reaction of Jerusalem and the allies

A number of armed groups are also under the influence of neighboring Iran, which now formally fall under the wider security apparatus of Iraq. The Tehran regime also provides weapons and training to Yemen’s Houthis, a rebel group that has controlled most of the country for nearly a decade and has recently gained attention attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

The New York Times also mentions the long-term involvement of the Tehran regime in Syria. Two groups directly controlled by the secret service of his Revolutionary Guards operate in the country, and others also receive support.

War dividend from Ukraine

The Washington Post based on interviews with weapons experts and officials of Western and Middle Eastern intelligence services pointed to Tehran’s deepening strategic partnership with Moscow. It is the result of close cooperation in support of Russian aggression in Ukraine, which began with the supply of missiles and drones and continues with their joint production and modernization.

“It is no longer a dynamic between client and patron, in which Russia holds all the levers. These changes benefit Iranians. In their relationship, it’s no longer just about the supply of things, there is a transfer of knowledge, intangible gains,” Hanna Notte, an expert from the Canadian Non-Proliferation Research Program, told the newspaper.

Source: Youtube

In addition, intelligence sources, according to the newspaper, indicate that Iran is seeking to acquire both new Su-35 fighter-bombers and newer S-400 air defense systems. However, it is not yet clear whether he has already received any deliveries.

“The deployment of the S-400 would definitely make Iranian airspace a more dangerous place. And this is important at a time when the Iranian regime is rapidly and unchecked approaching the completion of the development of a nuclear bomb,” Can Kasapoglu from the Washington think tank Hudson Institute told the newspaper. The new systems in some versions contain tools to overcome the stealth technologies of modern aircraft.

The long shadow of the nuclear threat

Arms control experts according to The Times of London they fear that Sunday attack against Israel can direct Iran to accelerate its long-standing nuclear program. Hundreds of rockets and drones were safely destroyed by Israel and its allies. “The deliberately flamboyant but not fatal attack actually revealed the limits of Iran’s deterrent power. Iran has never been closer to deciding to acquire a nuclear weapon as a definitive deterrent,” Iran expert Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group told the Times.

In 1976, Israeli intelligence decided to destroy Iraq’s al-Tuwaita nuclear reactor:

Iraq's Osirak reactor before the Israeli attack

If we don’t strike, they will destroy us. 40 years ago, Israel attacked an Iraqi reactor by air

According to another expert, Kelsey Davenport, Iran has the technical capabilities to produce enough enriched uranium and the technical means to produce the weapon itself, but for twenty years it has not taken key steps to produce it and has not even conducted a nuclear test.

According to experts, Iran is now considering the threat of further isolation and a probable war with Israel if it decides to continue its development. “In terms of ability, they are very close. They have all the components necessary to assemble a nuclear warhead. But no political decision was made. I don’t think we’re in a situation where Iran would decide to build a warhead because it could pay dearly for it,” Abdolrasool Divsallar, an Iran expert at the Washington-based Middle East Institute, told the Times.

Source: Youtube

On the other hand, two years of experience can play a role fighting in Ukraine. “Previously, Iran could understand the nuclear program more as a negotiating lever. After two years of war in Ukraine, some strategists in Tehran may believe that nuclear deterrence provides Russia some protection for its position vis-à-vis the West,” Sanam Vakil of the British think tank Chatham House told the Times.

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