As Iran-Israel relations reach a nadir over Israel's assassination of Colonel Sayeed Khodaye of Unit 840 of the Iranian Army on May 22, the line by Albert Einstein strikes a chord, "We must learn the difficult lesson that the future of mankind will only be tolerable when our course, in world affairs as in others, is based upon justice and law rather than the threat of naked power".

As was reported in the New York Times, "Col. Sayad Khodayee, 50, was fatally shot outside his home on a quiet residential street in Tehran on Sunday when two gunmen on motorcycles approached his car and fired five bullets into it, according to state media. Iran has blamed Israel for the killing, which bore the hallmarks of other Israeli targeted killings of Iranians in a shadow war that has been playing out for years on land, sea, air and in cyberspace.

"We will make the enemy regret this and none of the enemy's evil actions will go unanswered," Gen. Hossein Salami, the commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards, said in a speech on Monday. A member of Iran's National Security Council, Majid Mirahmadi, said the killing was "definitely the work of Israel," and warned that harsh revenge would follow, according to Iranian media.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli prime minister declined to comment on the killing. But according to an intelligence official briefed on the communications, Israel has informed American officials that it was behind the killing."

Iran and Israel share no common borders yet their relations have been incendiary since the creation of Israel inside Palestine in 1948, except for a brief period during 1953-1979.

The period from 1948-53 saw normal relations between the two states. Iran was the second Muslim majority nation after Turkey to officially recognise Israel, in March 1950.

After the 1953 coup d'état in Iran which saw Mohammad Raza Pahlavi becoming the pro-US Shah of Iran, relations between Iran and Israel improved significantly.

However, after the 1979 Islamic Revolution Iran severed all diplomatic and commercial ties with Israel and withdrew its recognition of the country. Till 1990, there was cold peace between the two nations with sporadic allegations and counter-allegations being levelled by both the sides against each other.

In 1988 during the Iran-Iraq war the USS Vincennes entered Iranian waters and shot down an Iran Air civilian airliner killing 290 people.

In early 1990 just before the collapse of USSR and after the defeat of Iraq in the Gulf War, hostilities between Iran and Israel came out in the open and ever since, relations between the two countries have been deteriorating with each passing day.

In December 2000, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Israel a "cancerous tumour" which should be removed from the region.

In June 2010, a computer worm allegedly developed by the US and Israel was estimated to have damaged about 1,000 centrifuges of the Natanz nuclear enrichment plant in Iran.

In March 2011 Israel captured a ship from Syria which was allegedly bringing Iranian weapons to Gaza. The same year Mossad supposedly carried out an explosion inside a nuclear facility in Isfahan, although Iran denied that such an explosion ever took place.

In February 2012 Israeli embassy staff were allegedly targeted in Georgia and India. Israel accused Iran of being behind these two attacks.

A little earlier in October 2011 the United States claimed to have foiled an Iranian plot to bomb the Israeli and Saudi embassies in Washington, DC and Buenos Aires.

In January 2013 Israeli aircraft struck a Syrian convoy allegedly transporting Iranian weapons meant for Hezbollah.

In January 2020 the US killed Qasem Soleimani, reportedly Khameini's right-hand man in Iran.

In April this year, President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran declared that Iran's armed forces would "target Israel's heart if it makes the slightest move".

The following month, Colonel Sayad Khodayee of Unit 840 of the Iranian Army was killed outside his home in Iran by suspected Israeli assassins.

Turbulent times are ahead for the already incendiary relations between Iran and Israel. With Israel being a nuclear-armed nation and Iran on the verge of becoming one, these are worrisome times for the world.

Lt Col J.S Sodhi who retired from the Corps of Engineers of the Indian Army is an alumnus of NDA, Khadakwasla and IIT Kanpur. Views expressed are personal