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Israel presses US to step up joint plans to counter Iran militarily

IDF's chief told American defense officials that Tehran could soon obtain nuclear weapons.

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Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi has called on the United States to develop new “operational plans” to take on the Iranian military, urging top US defense and intelligence officials to “accelerate” joint efforts to counter the Islamic Republic.

Kochavi held a series of meetings with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and CIA Director William Burns, the IDF said in a press release on Tuesday, noting that he discussed the “Iranian threat” with each of the officials he had spoken with since landing in the US on Sunday morning.

“We are at a critical point in time which requires the acceleration of the operational plans and the cooperation against Iran and its proxies in the region,” Kochavi said after the meetings. “On the one hand, Iran is under many economic, military and internal pressures, and on the other hand continues to advance the nuclear project.”

During his sit-down with General Milley, the two officials allegedly discussed “strengthening cooperation between the [US and Israeli] armies against threats in the region, chief among them the Iranian nuclear threat,” according to the IDF.

Read More: Israeli PM urges world to use force to stop Iran’s nuclear bomb

According to a US readout of Kohavi’s meeting with Sullivan, the sides “emphasized their shared determination to address security challenges,” while the White House reaffirmed its “commitment to ensuring that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon.”

Israeli officials have claimed for decades that Iran is on the cusp of developing its own atomic bomb, although the Islamic Republic has consistently denied any plans to build nuclear weapons – with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issuing a fatwa (religious decree) against all weapons of mass destruction in 2003. Iran has passed numerous inspections by the UN’s nuclear watchdog under a major deal signed with world powers in 2015.

However, after Washington unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal under President Donald Trump, Tehran has steadily scaled back its compliance, boosting its enrichment of uranium and building new advanced centrifuges while demanding an end to US sanctions. Iran has nonetheless insisted that such steps do not indicate it is seeking a nuclear weapon, despite continued allegations from the United States and Israel.