Israel, Iran likely to avoid more escalation after latest strikes: expert

Israel and Iran are likely seeking to avoid further escalating their long-simmering feud into a regional war after an apparent Israeli strike last week, one Middle East expert says — but Iran may still be building a target list for the future.

Israel and the United States have not commented on who was responsible for a series of explosions over the Iranian city of Isfahan on Friday, which Iran said were air defences shooting down several attack drones launched from Israel. It came nearly a week after Iran launched hundreds of missiles and drones toward Israel — nearly all of which were repelled — in retaliation over an Israeli strike that killed two Iranian generals at an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria.

White House offers ‘no comment’ on reported Israeli strikes on Iran

Reuters reported on Friday that Israel held back on previously-approved plans for a response to Iran’s attack after facing cabinet divisions and strong warnings from partners including the United States not to escalate the conflict.

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The U.S. has repeatedly said it will support Israel’s defence if Iran continues to attack. Panikoff said the same may not be said for Iran, whose closest allies — Russia and China — are more “transactional” without the close bonds Israel and the West enjoy.

“The Iranian-Russian relationship has gotten much, much closer throughout the Russian war in Ukraine … but there’s questions about whether that’s just tactical or there’s actually a strategic nature to it,” he said.

“Will Russia come and meaningfully support Iran in the event of a conflict? Will China provide support to Iran? Probably not.”

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: World