Kochavi Says Israel at ‘Critical Point’ on Iran Following White House, Pentagon Meetings
Israel is at “a critical point in time” that requires accelerating operational plans and cooperation against Iran, the IDF’s chief of staff said following discussions with senior American officials this week.
Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, who kicked-off a five-day visit to the United States on Sunday, held a series of meetings in the Pentagon and White House on Tuesday. He spoke with Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about strengthening US-Israel military cooperation and of regional threats, particularly Iran’s nuclear program. Milley, who visited Israel three times over the last two years, on Monday awarded Kochavi with the Legion of Merit for advancing the strategic partnership between their two militaries.
Kochavi met later on Tuesday with CIA Director William Burns, and separately with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, with the latter conveying the Biden administration’s “ironclad support for Israel’s security” and affirming the president’s “commitment to ensuring that Iran never acquires a nuclear weapon,” according to a White House statement.
The IDF chief is also expected to meet in Tampa, Florida with Gen. Michael Kurilla, head of US Central Command, who last week concluded his fourth visit to Israel in less than a year. At the time, Kochavi said Israel and the US are “training and developing joint military capabilities at an accelerated rate” against regional threats, primarily those emanating from Iran.
The Islamic Republic, a main focus of Kochavi’s meetings, on Tuesday announced that it is enriching uranium to 60 percent purity at Fordow, a plant buried deep underground in order to withstand aerial strikes. Previously, Iran was only known to have enriched uranium to this heightened level of purity, which experts have described as a short step away from the 90 percent purity deemed weapons-grade, in above ground facilities.
The visit is Kochavi’s second to the US since beginning his tenure as military chief, which will end in January.