Night fell over the desert.

U.S. Air Force aircraft soared overhead, lowering their ramps and emptying their cargo into the night sky. Vehicles were heavy dropped on pallets while operators assigned to 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta parachuted out into the darkness, conducting a military free-fall jump. Hitting their assembly area below, the operators quickly got their vehicles into operation and navigated approximately 40 kilometers across the desert until they reached their objective area.

The unit, commonly known as Delta Force or by one of any number of intentionally mundane acronyms, is the Army’s premier counterterrorism unit. Its members are drawn largely from the Ranger Regiment and Special Forces before being trained in the operational art of surgical raids, tubular assaults, close reconnaissance, and a dizzying area of specialized skills needed for raids like the one they conducted this night. The mission profile is called HDBT—hardened and deeply buried targets—which includes missile silos or underground nuclear bunker complexes in countries such as Iran.

That night, the operators struck quickly when they arrived at their target, using surprise, speed, and violence of action to breach a massive vault door to a bunker, assault inside the facility, and recover a warhead from a fully functional SCUD-B launcher. The operation went down like clockwork, but this was just a training exercise—one that took place at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). It was just one part of preparations for a larger operational plan, one that will be carried out if Delta ever gets the green light in the event the U.S. government decides to topple the government of Iran.

The Nevada Test Site is an out-of-the-way place where the U.S. government can conduct drills and training away from the prying eyes of curious citizens and nosy journalists.

Soldiers with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division react to reports of enemy activity while clearing an abandoned ammo supply point during subterranean training at West Fort Hood’s underground training facility, Nov. 22. The soldiers were working with the Asymmetrical Warfare Group in order to refine tactics and techniques for entering and clearing underground facilities. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. Matthew Thompson, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

NTS is where the Joint Ember Immune Teams test the security of convoys that transport nuclear weapons across the country, simulating what a real attack would look like and how it could be defended against. It is also where 1st Special Forces Group trained some of the officers for Cambodia’s counterterrorism unit when it was first stood up. According to a piece published by Seymour Hersh, the Iranian terrorist group MEK was trained at NTS by JSOC as early as 2005.

Despite being involved in the murder of six Americans, MEK was taken off the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization List by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012 after lobbying from the likes of former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani, retired General Hugh Shelton, current National Security Advisor John Bolton, and former directors of both the CIA and FBI. Interestingly, MEK was de-listed just as entire CIA human intelligence networks were compromised, imprisoned, and executed in China and then in Iran.

Although MEK has been used at least since the Bush administration despite being on the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations at the time, the Israelis also make use of them as a part of their proxy war against Iran. This was made evident during a string of high-profile assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.