Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told reporters that he notified US officials during meetings in Washington last week that he ordered the Israeli Defense Forces to prepare to attack Iran.
The order he gave was to “prepare for the Iranian challenge at the operational level,” Gantz said on the sidelines of a conference in Miami, Florida, that was held Friday. A senior Israeli military source told The Times of Israel that Gantz might have presented a timeline to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin when an Israeli attack could take place.
The Israelis have been pushing hard for the Biden administration to abandon indirect negotiations with Iran to revive the nuclear deal that are ongoing in Vienna. Gantz and other officials want the US to expand sanctions and prepare military operations, and it appears that the Americans are listening.
Last week, amid negotiations, the US slapped new sanctions on Iran. A senior US delegation is headed to the UAE this week to work on tightening existing sanctions. Some banks in the UAE are still doing business with Iran, something Washington wants to stop.
The White House said last week that President Biden had ordered his administration to prepare for “other options” if diplomacy with Iran fails. “The president has asked his team to be prepared in the event that diplomacy fails and we must turn to other options,” White House Secretary Jen Psaki said.
The New York Times reported that back in October, Biden ordered National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan “to review the Pentagon’s revised plan to take military action” against Iran. The Times report said that Biden’s turn towards potential military options was to show Iran the US was running out of “patience.” But by already ramping up pressure on Iran, the Biden administration has barely given diplomacy with the new Iranian government a chance.