Middle East/North Africa

Iran cautions against reported U.S.-Israeli military drills

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The Iranian flag is seen in this June 10, 2021, file photo.

Iran cautioned the U.S. on Saturday against going through with reported planned military drills in coordination with Israel. 

“Providing conditions for military commanders to test Iranian missiles with real targets will cost the aggressors a heavy price,” an unnamed military official said, according to Nournews, Reuters reported.

Nournews is affiliated with Iran’s top security body, according to the wire service. 

The warning comes after Reuters previously reported that Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Gantz and U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin would discuss military exercises to prepare to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities. 

A senior U.S. official told Reuters at the time that the possible military exercises for the worst possible scenario could be needed if the U.S. and Iran are not able to revive the 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal.

Former President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that was agreed to under former President Obama in 2015. 

Under President Biden, the U.S. and Iran have engaged in indirect talks over the nuclear deal, but the negotiations have hit a snag. Very little progress has been made since talks in Vienna. 

Iran has been enriching uranium up to 20-percent purity with 166 advanced machines at its Fordow plant, the International Atomic Energy Agency said. 

The Department of Defense confirmed the two Defense chiefs met on Thursday and “discussed shared concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear provocations, support for terrorism, and missile program.”

However, officials would not confirm the Reuters report about the possible worst case scenario military training exercises.

“I know there’s interest in a certain Reuters report,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said before the meeting.

“I will tell you this, we routinely conduct exercises and training with our Israeli counterparts and I have nothing to announce to or speak to or point to or speculate about today,” he added. 

Tags Barack Obama Donald Trump Iran and weapons of mass destruction Iran–United States relations Israel Defense Forces Joe Biden John Kirby Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Lloyd Austin Nuclear energy in Iran Nuclear program of Iran

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