On the 3rd, the Israeli government urged Israeli citizens to avoid going to the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and other places on the grounds that Iran may launch an attack to retaliate against the assassination of a nuclear expert.
In a statement, Israel’s National Security Council recommended that its citizens avoid travel destinations such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kurdistan Autonomous Region in northern Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Africa in the near future.
The statement said that in view of the recent and past “terrorist threats” posed by Iranian agents, “we are concerned that Iran may treat Israeli (outside) targets in a similar way”.
Iranian nuclear physicist Muhsin Fahrizad was assassinated near the capital Tehran on November 27. Although no organization or individual has claimed to have committed the incident, Iran believes that the attack was planned by Israel and that the United States is behind the scenes. Israel has not said anything about this.
After the assassination of Fahrizad, the Iranian side vowed to avenge him and threatened to punish the murderer and the mastermind behind the scenes. Fahrizad, the head of the Iranian Ministry of Defense’s nuclear program and a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, was “named” by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the U.S. Sanctions List.
However, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran, Eliot Abrams, said on the 3rd that Iran is unlikely to launch retaliation before U.S. President-elect Joseph Biden takes office, because of fears that sanctions will not be loosened in the future. Biden previously said that the new government would return to the track of the Iran nuclear agreement and was willing to negotiate with Iran.
Abrams said that Iran’s recent economic recession and people’s livelihood have withered, and the United States urgently needs to relax sanctions. During the transition of U.S. power before Trump’s departure, it is unlikely that Iran will take action.
Israelis will celebrate Hanukkah, a traditional Jewish festival, later this month, and many people originally wanted to go to the United Arab Emirates for a holiday. The Associated Press reported that the epidemic in the United Arab Emirates is not serious, and Israeli tourists who do not require entry to be quarantined. In addition, the relationship between the two countries has just normalized, Dubai and other places have become new favorites for tourists outside Israel.
The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed an agreement on normalizing relations with Israel in September. The United Arab Emirates and Israel recently opened direct flights to implement visa-free treatment.
Travel agencies in many countries in the Middle East and Africa have reported that the United Arab Emirates has temporarily suspended the issuance of new tourist visas, which may be due to security reasons.