On Saturday a top Iranian military official warned Tel Aviv and Washington against planned-for joint military drills that would simulate attacks on Iran. Reuters earlier in the week reported that Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Gantz and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had met to discuss possible joint 'counter-Iran' exercises, with Israeli media reports suggesting they already might be taking place.
"Providing conditions for military commanders to test Iranian missiles with real targets will cost the aggressors a heavy price," the unnamed military official was cited in state media as saying.
US officials have lately described the Biden administration has a 'plan B' in place should Vienna negotiations fail to produce any breakthrough - which suggests even more sanctions but also possible military strike options against Iran nuclear facilities. Some in the administration worry that this occasional "mowing the grass" will in the end to little to deter Iran's program - instead they fear it could only hasten Tehran's pursuit of a bomb.
Currently the concern is that Iran may soon reach uranium enrichment and centrifuge capabilities that cannot be reversed. "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 Hill noted on Saturday.
Days ago, on Thursday, the Pentagon was pressed by reporters in its daily briefing over the reports of joint Israel-US training exercises to take out Iran's facilities.
“I know there’s interest in a certain Reuters report,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said. "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."
Also on Saturday a bombshell New York Times report revealed that Israel has been consulting with the United States over covert strikes on Iranian facilities. The White House is believed to have 'green lighted' some of these attacks.
The report also includes confirmation that Biden has ordered military strike plans drawn up: "In an effort to close the gap, American officials let out word this week that two months ago, Mr. Biden asked his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, to review the Pentagon’s revised plan to take military action if the diplomatic effort collapsed."
10/ Third element, timed with visit of Israeli defense delegation to Washington today, is reported planning for "break glass in case of emergency" military option 👇https://t.co/qQ1LnGcKHH— Ali Vaez (@AliVaez) December 9, 2021
This means that if Vienna talks collapse in total failure, it won't be long before the world witnesses new fireworks in the Middle East, between Iran and Israel. Additionally, it's likely that Israel's target list includes further locations in Syria, and possibly even Lebanon against Hezbollah, or on pro-Iran militia units in Iraq.