Iran backed down from a fight with the United States because Tehran fears President Donald Trump, Israeli Minister Tzachi Hanegbi says. As a result, Iran only staged a “minor” attack on US bases in Iraq, Hanegbi told IDF Radio on Thursday.
The Iranians “backed down anxiously” from a confrontation because they understand how powerful the US is, Hanegbi said. He added that Tehran chose a cautious path because President Trump made it “unequivocally clear” that the US was ready to strike 52 targets in Iran.
Iran has no interest in clashing with Israel at this time either, the regional cooperation minister predicted. “They always deliver fiery speeches against Israel, but in practice their ability to hurt us was always limited,” he said.
Hanegbi’s comments marked the first official Israeli response to the Iranian missile strike on US bases. Previously, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered ministers to stay mum on the US assassination of Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani.
However, Hanegbi is a close Netanyahu ally and likely sought his approval before speaking out.
Netanyahu Lauds Trump
On Wednesday, PM Netanyahu addressed the killing of Soleimani in a speech in Jerusalem.
Soleimani was responsible for the death of “countless innocent people,” Netanyahu told a conference organized by the Kohelet Policy Forum. “For decades, he sowed fear and misery and anguish, and he was planning much worse.”
Netanyahu lauded President Trump for “acting swiftly, boldly and resolutely against this terrorist-in-chief who was the architect and driver of Iran’s campaign of carnage and terror throughout the Middle East and throughout the world.”
The PM added that Israel fully backs the US in its confrontation with Iran. “America has no better friend than Israel, and Israel has no better friend than the United States of America,” Netanyahu said.