Remarks made by Daniel Shapiro, the United States Ambassador to Israel, on Tuesday indicate that U.S. military forces have trained and are ready for a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
“It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically, and through the use of pressure, than to use military force,” Shapiro said during a speech in Tel Aviv. “But that does not mean that option isn’t available. Not just available, it’s ready. The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it’s ready.”
The comments were not intended to become public but a newspaper reporter recorded them, according to Israel’s Channel 2.
Joint military exercises between the U.S. and Israel are scheduled to take place in the coming months, after being postponed earlier this year, and Channel 2 in Israel reported earlier this week that Israeli fighter jets will travel to the U.S. this summer to conduct joint exercises. Israeli jets have not engaged in joint exercises in American airspace for several years, adding to the speculation that the two countries are coordinating a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.
The International Atomic Energy Agency met with Iranian officials this week to begin preparations for an upcoming meeting between the world’s major powers and Iran, in Baghdad on May 23. The IAEA wants access to Iran’s Parchin military complex, following concerns that Iran has been cleaning up the site after conducting nuclear testing there.
Ehud Barak, Israel’s Defense Minister recently said that Western demands of the Islamic Republic “are so minimal, that even if Iran accepts all of them it will still be able to continue and make progress with its nuclear program.”
“It must completely cease its enrichment activities inside Iran, including to levels of 3.5 percent,” Barak stated.