US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said all options are on the table to prevent the emergence of a nuclear Iran as he prepared to fly from Cairo to Jerusalem, just after Israel allegedly attacked a munitions depot in the Iranian city of Isfahan.
He spoke about Iran in an interview with the Dubai-based news outlet Al Arabiya that was published Sunday.
Blinken said that Washington preferred a diplomatic option to prevent a nuclear Iran and ending its aggression but that “all options are available on the table to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
“All options are available on the table to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”Antony Blinken
Iran suffers drone attack amid tensions with the West
On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel was behind the drone attack on a defense compound in Iran, next to a site engaged with the country’s ballistic missile program.
The attack came amid tension between the Islamic republic and the West over Tehran’s nuclear activity and its supply of arms – including armed drones and long-range “suicide drones” – for Russia’s war in Ukraine, as well as months of anti-government demonstrations at home.
Israel has been under pressure to do more to help Ukraine. It was unclear if the attack against the munitions depot was aimed at delaying Iran’s nuclear program or its production of armed drones or missiles that would be earmarked to help Russia in its war against Ukraine.
An Israeli strike on Iran would be the first under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since he returned to office last month. In Ukraine, which accuses Iran of supplying hundreds of drones to Russia to attack civilian targets in Ukrainian cities far from the front, a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky linked the incident directly to the war there.
“Explosive night in Iran,” Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted. “Did warn you.”
Iran has acknowledged sending drones to Russia but says they were sent before Moscow’s invasion. The Kremlin denies its forces use Iranian drones in Ukraine, although many have been shot down and recovered there.
Strengthening the joint US-Israel front against Iran will be among the topics Blinken will discuss while in Jerusalem on Monday, where he plans to meet with Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.
It’s also expected that Russia and its growing military alliance with Iran will be on the agenda.
Blinken arrives amid escalating Israeli-Palestinian confrontations and concern in Washington that the new government’s plans for judicial overhaul will harm Israel democracy.
The United States has strongly condemned the terror attacks in Jerusalem, including the one in a synagogue on Friday night that claimed seven lives – though it is expected to be at odds with Israel over the unilateral measures it has taken.
Relations between Israel and Washington were already tense over Netanyahu’s support for settlement expansion and the legalization of outposts.
On Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called Cohen to express his condolences for the attack. He has similarly spoken with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad Malki.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow “is concerned over the new spiral of violence in the zone of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, which is fraught with the resumption of a full-scale armed confrontation leading to further casualties and damages,” according to the TASS news agency.
Reuters contributed to this report.