A wide-scale air drill carried out by the Israeli Air Force will simulate a comprehensive attack on Iranian territory.
By Aryeh Savir/TPS and Tobias Siegal/WIN
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz took off for Washington DC on Wednesday night where he will meet with top U.S. defense officials to discuss potential plans for a military operation against Iran, as Western countries are set to return to Vienna for resumed talks with Tehran.
Gantz stated before taking off that he is leaving for “an important visit to the U.S., our best friend, to meet with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The meetings will discuss ways to preserve Israel’s security supremacy in the region and security challenges, including dealing with Iranian aggression.
“Iran is a threat to world peace, to the region, and seeks to become an existential threat to Israel. In the discussions, we will highlight the possible courses of action to ensure that its attempt to reach the nuclear sphere and thus expand its activities in the region is stopped,” he stated.
His visit to Washington comes after Mossad Chief David Barne’a was in Washington earlier this week, reportedly to present the Americans with the most updated intelligence on Iran’s nuclear program.
U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides met with Gantz in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, hours before he left for Washington.
The American and Israeli defense officials are expected to discuss possible military exercises that would “prepare for a worst-case scenario to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities should diplomacy fail and if their nations’ leaders request it,” a senior U.S. official told Reuters.
The official further divulged that Gantz’s meetings in the U.S. follow an October 25 briefing by Pentagon leaders to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan on “the full set of military options available to ensure that Iran would not be able to produce a nuclear weapon.”
The official argued that “we’re in this pickle because Iran’s nuclear program is advancing to a point beyond which it has any conventional rationale.”
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Joint Commission met in Vienna last week with members of the G4 +1 group and the European Union to discuss the lifting of sanctions on Iran, with no apparent results or agreements. The sides are slated to meet again on Thursday.
The Biden administration is seeking to reengage Tehran in talks on a new nuclear agreement, while Europe is seeking to salvage the one signed in 2015, which the U.S. under former president Donald Trump had left.
However, both European and American top officials have expressed frustration over Iran’s willingness to engage in the negotiations in recent days, indicating that Tehran’s proposals are not realistic and hinting at other options in case Tehran does not change course.
In related news, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has begun preparing in recent days for a military exercise that will include dozens of Israeli fighter jets and will simulate a comprehensive attack in Iran, Kan News reported Wednesday.
The wide-scale drill, scheduled to begin in Spring 2022, will take place over the Mediterranean Sea and will simulate actual conditions and distances required for carrying out airstrikes on Iranian territory.
In August IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said that the IDF had begun developing operational plans to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.