IRAN-ISRAEL CONFLICT (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – IR)

News-CRUX-10     20th April 2024        

Context: Tensions in the Middle East deepened recently as Iran fired its air defense batteries at a major air base and a nuclear site near Isfahan after drones were spotted.


  • About: It is the central city in Iran, hosts Iran’s major airbase and a nuclear site, as reported by the news agency AP.
  • Population: Isfahan, with a population of over 2 million, is a cultural and historical centre. 
  • Situated: Halfway between the Zagros Mountains and the Iranian desert, it historically served as a crossroads for trade routes.
  • Nuclear Facilities in Isfahan: The Isfahan facility operates three small Chinese-supplied research reactors and handles fuel production and other activities for Iran’s civilian nuclear program.
  • Expansion of Nuclear Research: Iran has recently announced the construction of a fourth nuclear research reactor in Isfahan, alongside a new nuclear power plant complex in the south of the country.

Iran-Israel Conflict

  • Pre-1979 Iran-Israel Relations: Iran recognized Israel after its formation in 1948, maintaining diplomatic ties and shared interests, opposing Arab hostility.

o Israel pursued a "periphery doctrine" to counter Arab hostility by forming alliances with non-Arab, mostly Muslim countries like Iran and Turkey.

  • 1979 Islamic Revolution: After this Revolution, Iran's view of Israel changed, considering it an occupier of Palestinian land. Ayatollah Khomeini termed Israel as "Little Satan".
  • Israel-Iran Issues:
  • Israel’s Strong Alliance with the US: It increases Iran's insecurity due to Western interference in the Middle East, posing a direct threat to its security and interests.
  • US Sanctions on Iran: Iran has been under various degrees of US sanctions since 1979, aiming to censure Iran and prevent its progress in prohibited nuclear activities.
  • Proxy Conflicts and Covert Operations: Both countries have engineered proxy conflicts and covert operations against each other, involved in proxy wars in Syria, Yemen, etc.
  • Iranian Nuclear Program: Israel considers the Iranian nuclear program an existential threat. The Bushehr I reactor, operational since September 2011, marked Iran's entry into nuclear power with Russia's assistance.