The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) continue to plan to act independently and take out Iranian nuclear facilities if the upcoming Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) talks fail. 

Iran has stalled for five months on the resumption of talks which are scheduled to finally begin today. However, the talks between the United States and Iran are only indirect which will further slow down any progress. The indirect talks will involve other countries as the Biden administration wants the U.S. to return to the JCPOA. The other countries involved include Russia, China, France, Germany, the U.K.; the EU will also participate.

The Biden administration seeks a return to the 2015 JCPOA terms. Nevertheless, the Iranians have already broken the terms of the agreement and have been enriching uranium far beyond what is needed for nuclear power. They have insisted that they are not seeking a nuclear weapon, but those statements have been debunked and their centrifuges are now one step from enriching nuclear weapons-grade material. 

Iran is now enriching uranium at 60 percent which has no civilian use.

The Israelis were adamantly opposed to the JCPOA at the time stating that it openly cleared the way for Iran to get a nuclear weapon. Due to the Iranian enrichment procedures already underway, they consider the Biden calls to return to the original terms irrelevant. 

Iranian nuclear facility. (File photo)

If there is any doubt about Iran’s intentions, Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi, a spokesman for the Iranian armed forces called for the total destruction of Israel before any negotiations take place. 

Speaking to the Iranian Students News Agency, Shekarchi said, “We will not back off from the annihilation of Israel, even one millimeter. We want to destroy Zionism in the world,” he said on Saturday. 

He also blasted Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) for normalizing diplomatic relations with Israel, stating that these actions were “intolerable” for Iran’s regime. “Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, and other countries considered as Muslims, for us they [are] part of the Zionist regime and this is very important,” Shekarchi added.

The IDF doesn’t see a conventional war breaking out with Iran or Hezbollah, its proxy in Lebanon. Yet, they are still preparing for and are watching closely their northern and southern borders in the event of hostilities. Israel has been conducting exercises with other countries should they need to act as part of a military coalition. 

After the Abraham Accords, for the first time, Israeli troops conducted training exercises with Gulf Arab states. Israeli Navy ships took part in a maritime naval exercise with the U.A.E., Bahrain, and US Naval Forces Central Command’s (NAVCENT) in the Red Sea. The exercise was to simulate a potential confrontation between Iran and the other countries. The Israelis also conducted ground exercises with 500 U.S. Marines from NAVCENT’s 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

US Marines armored vehicle fires during an exercise with Israeli Defense Forces troops during a recent exercise. (USMC)

The Israelis are also taking part in air force exercises. According to the Jerusalem Post, the most recent Blue Flag exercises, participants included Germany with six Eurofighters, Italy with five F-35 jets and five G550 planes, Britain with six Eurofighters, France with four Rafale jets, India with five Mirage jets, Greece with four F-16 jets, and the U.S. with six F-16 CJ jets. Blue Flag included air-to-air exercises as well as simulated air-to-surface strikes. 

 

Plan B

If all else fails in the negotiations with Iran, the Israelis are prepared to act alone (Plan B) to take out the Iranian nuclear sites. 

Former Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen, in an interview with Ynet news said that failing a negotiated settlement that will stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb, that Israel must consider a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. 

“Independent strikes on nuclear sites, if Iran takes this path that endangers our existence, should and must be on the table — unequivocally,” Cohen said.

“The bottom line is that we must take away the capabilities from Iran because we will not be able to take away its motivations,” he added.

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