On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in Washington and called for “joint military readiness” between the US and Israel against Iran.
A day before the meeting, a US official told Reuters that the two military leaders would discuss potential military drills to prepare for attacks on Iran. Austin told Gantz on Thursday that if diplomacy with Iran fails, the US is ready to “turn to other options.”
With indirect negotiations between the US and Iran to revive the nuclear resuming in Vienna, Israeli officials are pushing hard for the Biden administration to abandon the talks, impose more sanctions, and consider attacking the Islamic Republic.
Since the resumption of talks, the US has accused Iran of not taking the process seriously. But in the meantime, the Biden administration has imposed more sanctions on Iran, which signals that the US is not prepared to return the JCPOA.
Openly discussing attacking Iran with Israeli officials is also not sending the best signal to Iran, and is likely part of the effort to ramp up the pressure. But US sanctions and Israeli covert attacks have only led to Iran making nuclear advancements.
The Israelis frame the need to attack Iran as the only way to prevent the Islamic Republic from acquiring a nuclear weapon. But Iran has always pledged it does not want to make a bomb and is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. On Monday, CIA Director William Burns said the US has no evidence Tehran wants to weaponize its nuclear program.