A top Iranian military commander said Monday that Israel wouldn’t be able to strike Iran’s nuclear or military facilities without the approval and support from Washington.
“Any threat to Iran’s nuclear and military bases by the Zionist regime is not possible without the green light support of the United States,” said Gholamali Rashid, the commander of the Iranian military’s Central Headquarters.
Rashid also warned of a response if the Israelis were to attack Iran. “If Israel carries out attacks against Iran, our armed forces will immediately attack all centers, bases, routes, and spaces used to carry out the aggression,” he said.
Over the past few months, as part of an effort to sabotage Iran nuclear deal negotiations, Israeli officials have been threatening to attack the Islamic Republic. Israel has been known to carry out covert attacks against Iran’s civilian nuclear program, but the recent rhetoric suggests a more overt attack is being planned.
With the Israeli threat in mind, Iran’s military held military exercises across southern Iran on Monday. As part of the exercises, the Iranian forces conducted air defense drills near the Bushehr nuclear power plant in southwestern Iran.
While Israeli officials have warned they could “act alone” against Iran if the US doesn’t back them, there are reasons to doubt Israel’s ability to conduct a successful attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Last week, The New York Times reported that Israel had asked the US to expedite the delivery of a tanker aircraft that is seen as vital for Israel’s ability to bomb Iran, but the US said the Boeing-made KC-46 tankers won’t be ready until at least 2024.
The KC-46s would give Israel the ability to fly to Iran and back. Without them, Israel would have to rely on aging aircraft or try to land in the UAE or Saudi Arabia. Israel also lacks the bunker-busting capabilities that are needed to target Iranian nuclear facilities that were built underground.