The US has proposed to Israel to conduct joint military planning on potential attacks on Iran, Axios reported Wednesday.
The report cited US and Israeli officials who said the idea was proposed a few weeks ago during recent visits to Israel by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Israel is known for conducting covert attacks inside Iran and has stepped up its threats to launch an overt military attack against the Islamic Republic in recent years, although it’s not clear if Israel could pull off such an operation without US support.
The US and Israel have been stepping up military cooperation and held their largest-ever joint military exercises in January. US officials told Axios that the proposal for joint planning against Iran is unprecedented and could significantly boost US-Israel military ties even more.
The report said Israeli officials have taken the proposal with suspicion, worrying that it could “tie Israel’s hands.” A US official said that the idea is “not about planning any kind of joint US-Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear program.”
But a US official also told Axios that the proposal was meant as a reassurance that the US backs Israel and is not meant to tie their hands. An Israeli official said that Israel is looking for the US to clarify exactly what joint planning means.
US-Iran tensions have been soaring since indirect negotiations to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, fell apart toward the end of 2022. The US announced last week that it was increasing its military presence in the Persian Gulf after Iran seized two tankers, which came after the US seized a tanker carrying Iranian oil and stole the cargo.