Former head of the National Security Council's Headquarters for Fighting Terror Brigadier General (Reserves) Yehiam Sasson, told Arutz Sheva that despite the sensitive situation on Israel's northern border, war with Hezbollah is not expected at the present time.
"Hezbollah is an Iranian army with Iranian knowledge and Iranian commanders. It could be that the Iranians will reach a point when it will be in their interest to use Hezbollah against us, but as long as the Iran deal is on the table, it's not going to happen. If the US backs out of the deal, Iran may give Hezbollah the green light," Sasson explained.
Iran has test-fired several ballistic missiles since the nuclear deal was signed in 2015. US President Donald Trump recently decided to extend a waiver on nuclear sanctions that were imposed on Iran. However, he said it would be the last time he will do so and ordered European allies and Congress to work with him to fix “the disastrous flaws” in the 2015 deal or Washington would withdraw.
In January, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that international action on Iran's ballistic missile program could persuade Trump to remain in the Iranian nuclear deal.
On Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed that the Islamic Republic will not renegotiate the nuclear deal.
"Lebanon's Hezbollah is a contractor, and completely obedient to its Iranian master. It will only do what Tehran tells it to do for Tehran's interests," Sasson continued.
"It's true that Hezbollah has interests in Lebanon, is integrated into the Lebanese government, and takes public opinion seriously. Certainly, they do not want war, but in everything related to significant fighting against Israel, they work according to Iran's directives."
Sasson explained that because of this interaction, Israel's warnings need to be aimed at Iran and not Lebanon.
"There's no question that Israel needs to be able to respond in Lebanon, but an effective response needs to deter Iran," he said. "Israel can work with the US to create this kind of deterrence, and it needs to be clear that every Hezbollah attack on Israel is Iran's responsibility and the response will be directed at Iran. The response can be diplomatic or military, but it needs to be aimed at Iran as well, and Iran needs to understand that both Israel and the US see Iran as responsible for every attack Hezbollah carries out against Israel."