US and Israel agree to accelerate operational plans against Iran: IDF
Jerusalem: Israel and the US have agreed that they are at a "critical point" in time that requires the acceleration of operational plans and cooperation against Iran and its terrorist proxies, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) have said as its chief held discussions with senior American officials in Washington.
Chief of Staff of the IDF Lieutenant General Aviv Kohav landed in the US on Sunday for five days of meetings with senior officials focused on the Iranian threat, the IDF said.
The Israeli Army's Chief on Monday met with the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mark Milley, US National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, and CIA Director, William Burns.
“During the discussions, it was agreed that we are at a critical point in time that requires the acceleration of operational plans and cooperation against Iran and its terrorist proxies in the region,” the IDF quoted Kohavi as saying in Tweets posted on its social media handle on Tuesday.
“On the one hand, Iran is under many economic, military, and internal pressures, and on the other hand, it continues to promote its nuclear programme. The IDF strongly promotes all operational plans against the Iranian threat,” Kohavi said.
Israel has declared Iran's nuclear programme an existential threat vowing to foil it using "all options on the table", hinting at a possible military strike if required.
Israel has consistently opposed US President Joe Biden’s attempts to revive the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers that traded sanctions reliefs for curbs on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly referred to as the Iran nuclear deal, was reached in Vienna on 14 July 2015 between Tehran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of UNSC + Germany) together with the European Union.
The US later withdrew from it in 2018 with then US President Donald Trump promising to negotiate a better deal.
Iran has said that it had begun producing uranium enriched to 60 per cent, a level it never reached before, which is considered by experts as just a technical step away from the 90 per cent enrichment necessary to produce a nuclear weapon.
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed the move and said Tuesday that its chief, Rafael Grossi, had reported the development to its member states.
The US expressed “deep concern” Tuesday over the announcement, which was also condemned by Germany, France and the UK.
Meanwhile, the head of Israeli Military Intelligence, Major General Aharon Haliva, at a conference organised by the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv on Monday said that Tehran has made “significant progress” toward producing ninety per cent enriched uranium.
“The moment is coming when the greatest test of the international community will come to light when Iran entertains enrichment at 90 per cent, even if only symbolically,” Haliva said.
“I wonder what the international community will do when Iran starts enrichment at 90 per cent,” he said.
Haliva said that Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi’s ongoing trip to the US, which is focused on the Iranian threat, comes at a “critical” time.
The Military Intelligence Chief expressed hopes that if Israel were to strike Iran's nuclear facilities to foil its nuclear ambitions, he would like to see a US partnership.
“I would be happy if the US was by our side,” he emphasised.
The day-long conference on, "Iran, Israel, and the Shia Axis: 2023 - A year of Conflict, had a high-profile participation, including former Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Former Israeli NSA Meir Ben-Shabbat, Maj. Gen (retd) Amos Yadlin and former and serving diplomats.
There was a near consensus among Israeli participants that the Iranian nuclear programme has reached the "threshold" point and that the Jewish state should try and persuade the US to be on its side if a military option was to be exercised.