Israel isn’t just preparing for “what” an attack on Iran’s nuclear program might look like. They are also setting sights on “when” an attack could take place. To that end, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz reportedly told United States officials Israel’s deadline for when the Jewish State must complete preparations for an attack on Iran, according to The Jerusalem Post. While the article did not specify what that deadline was, a senior diplomatic source in the article made the noteworthy comment that there was “no veto” from the Americans in response to the Israeli preparation.
In any event, a full-fledged Israeli attack still appears months away at a minimum, as The Jerusalem Post article noted a separate report by Israel’ Kan news that Israel has plans to do a large Iran strike training exercise in the summer of 2022. Talk of such military action comes as international negotiations between Iran and major world powers have been unsuccessful in reinstating the nuclear deal that curbs Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, with Iran making disturbing advances in their nuclear program in the meantime.
Officially, the US isn’t commenting on potential plans to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities militarily. In comments to reporters on Thursday by US spokesperson Ned Price, he specifically said he “wouldn’t want to speak to contingency planning” in the event diplomatic talks fail.
“I wouldn’t want to speak to what we might be contemplating if the path to diplomacy towards a mutual return to compliance [with the nuclear deal] isn’t viable in the near term. But we are discussing those alternatives,” said Price in comments to reporters published by the State Department.
“We are discussing those options with our close partners, with our close allies, and that includes with the Israelis. We have already had good discussions with the Israelis about the path forward and how we can work together to ensure that Iran is never able to acquire a nuclear weapon.”
Price’s comments came the same day Gantz and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met to discuss Iran, among other topics. While the US press release on the visit was vague on the Iran talks, the Israeli version was clear on Gantz’ views. It noted the Israeli Defense Minister “emphasized the need for measures to stop Iran’s nuclear program and its regional aggression, and reiterated that Iran poses a threat to global peace and stability.” The meeting came on the same trip as a conversation between Gantz and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, in which Iran was also discussed.
Gantz repeated his Iran message publicly on Friday to a conference hosted by the Israeli American Council. In a video recap of some of his comments posted to Gantz’ Twitter feed, he said, “As I told Secretary Austin, Iran not only possesses a physical threat, but also concrete threat to our way of life and to our shared values. Iran seeks to destroy all traces of freedom, human dignity, and peace in the Middle East and beyond.
“Israel is the only country in the world that has another country—Iran—seeking its destruction and building the means to do it. As Israel’s Minister of Defense, I will never let it happen.”
While the US and Israel have had disagreements about how to handle the Iran nuclear threat, that ultimate sentiment remains a shared approach between the allies. “Regardless of how we get there, the United States is committed to the fact that Iran must never be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon,” said US spokesperson Price last week. “That is a commitment that we subscribe to and we always will subscribe to.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, December 12, 2021)