Iran and Israel’s shadow war.

The long-running and undeclared shadow war between two of the Middle East’s most implacable foes, Iran and Israel, appears to be heating up.

Iran has blamed Israel for a mysterious explosion at the weekend that knocked out power at its uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.

Israel has not publicly said it was behind what Iran calls “an act of sabotage” but US and Israeli media reports are quoting officials as saying it was carried out by Israel’s overseas intelligence agency, Mossad. Iran has vowed to take revenge “at a time of its choosing”.

The underlying theme of this shadow war is brinkmanship. Neither side can afford to look weak but both Iran and Israel know they need to carefully calibrate their actions so as not to trigger an all-out war. On the nuclear side it is clear that Israeli intelligence has been able to penetrate Iranian security to an astounding degree, deploying both human agents on the ground and cyber weapons to overcome Iranian countermeasures.

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