Iran | Relationship with Israel Reaches Critical Point
- Iran Main Page
- Iran Becomes a Theocracy with Islamic Revolution
- U.S. and Iran Sever Ties Amid Hostage Crisis
- Khatami Attempts to Liberalize Nation
- Iran Taunts World With Nuclear Ambitions
- Ahmadinejad Elected President
- Iran Continues Progress on Nuclear Technology
- Presidential Election Thrusts Iran into Crisis
- Leaked Cables Show Arab Countries Wary of Iran
- Experts Fear Iran Will Exploit Tumult in Middle East
- Advances in Nuclear Program Lead to Additional Sanctions
- Relationship with Israel Reaches Critical Point
- Centrist Elected President of Iran; Reaches Out to West with a Charm Offensive
- Iran Agrees to Scale Back Nuclear Program, but Deal Remains Elusive
- Iran Contributes to the Fight Against ISIS
- Historic Nuclear Deal Goes into Effect
Relationship with Israel Reaches Critical Point
Tension between Iran and Israel intensified in early 2012 as Iran continued to make progress on its nuclear weapons program. In January, Iran announced it was set to begin uranium enrichment at a second facility. Iran blamed Israel and the United States for the death of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a nuclear scientist. A bomber on a motorcycle killed Roshan in Tehran during the morning commute in January. It was the fourth attack on an Iranian nuclear specialist in two years. Then, in February, Israeli officials accused Iran of being involved in multiple terrorist attacks. On Feb. 13, Israeli Embassy personnel in the capitals of Georgia and India were the targets of bombers. The following day a residential neighborhood in Bangkok was the site of a series of explosions. Thai authorities arrested two men with Iranian passports in connection to the attacks.
In August 2012, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that while economic sanctions have hurt Iran, they have not slowed progress on the country's nuclear program. In fact, the report found that Iran's nuclear program had progressed even faster than anticipated. The report validated Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's suspicion that Iran's nuclear program has continued to move at full speed despite the sanctions and diplomatic isolation imposed on Iran by an international community. The agency's report also confirmed that 75% of the nuclear centrifuges needed for an underground site had been installed. Netanyahu indicated that Iran was getting close to crossing the "red line" and that Israel had to determine the appropriate time to act to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions. In late September, Netanyahu calmed fears that a preemptive attack was imminent in an address to the UN General Assembly. He said he believed Iran would not have the technology to enrich uranium until at least the spring of 2013 and therefore there was time for diplomacy to deter Iran's nuclear program.
As Iran's economy continued to crumble under the weight of increasingly stringent economic sanctions—the value of rial fell by more than 40% in one week in early October—Iran and the U.S. agreed in October to engage in bilateral talks about Iran's nuclear weapons program. However, no talks had occurred by mid-December.