Israel prepares for an air training mission to simulate an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities. The country’s defense chiefs are meeting with US counterparts in order to discuss their next steps should negotiations with Tehran fall apart.

Next year, the Israeli exercise will be held and include F-35 stealth fighter bombers are accompanied by F-16, F-15 fighters that fly 600 miles over the Mediterranean in support of F-35 stealth aircraft. This is to simulate the distance needed to strike Iranian nuclear targets.

According to sources, the news of the drill broke ahead of Benny Gantz (Israeli defence minister) meeting with US defence chiefs. They will be discussing joint drills that could prepare them for strike on Iran.

ZeevElkin, Israel’s housing and construction minister said that the purpose of these exercises was to prepare for any eventuality before adding: “We won’t allow Iran go nuclear.”

Israel is drawing up plans for an aerial drill that would see warplanes fly 600 miles over the Mediterranean to simulate the distance required to strike Iran's nuclear facilities (file image)

Israel is planning an aerial drill to fly warplanes 600 miles across the Mediterranean, to mimic the distance necessary to strike Iran’s nuclear sites (file image).

Iran and Israel have been at odds for many decades over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Iran insists that the technology can be used peacefully, while Israel claims it can be used to attack Israel.

Obama reached a 2015 deal with Tehran to allow Tehran to produce low-enriched Uranium to be used in nuclear reactors. He also committed it to inspections to ensure that the Iranian mullahs don’t create a bomb.

Israel was vocally opposed to the agreement, but in 2018, President Trump succeeded in convincing him to abandon it. He reimposed sanctions on Iran and took a more aggressive stance towards its rulers.

Iran violated several terms of the agreement since then. This includes enriching uranium up to 60% – less than the 90% required to make a bomb. It also doubled its high-enriched material stockpile.

Joe Biden is trying to bring Iran back into the negotiations table. But he faces a new, hardline regime at Tehran. This was elected following moderate Hassan Rouhani’s strategy to dealing with the West. His efforts have been met with limited success.

Talks in Vienna are ongoing, with US Special Envoy for Iran Rob Malley due in the city this weekend to try and push the issue forward, but few expect a breakthrough.

With the prospect of negotiations failing, Israel and America now seem to be preparing attack plans to deter Tehran.   

An American official did not provide any details regarding the possibility of military exercises.

“We are in this mess because Iran’s nuclear programme is moving beyond any rationale,” the official stated, but still expressed hope for talks.

Requests for comment from the Israeli Embassy in Washington or Iran’s Mission to United Nations were not promptly answered by either of these entities.

Iran has been ramping up its nuclear programme including enriching uranium to 60 per cent, just a short jump from the 90 per cent needed to build a bomb (pictured, Tehran's its main enrichment plant at Natanz)

Iran is increasing its nuclear program, including enriching its uranium up to 60%, which only a fraction of the required 90 percent to make a bomb. (pictured: Tehran’s main enrichment facility at Natanz).

Iran insists it will use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, but Israel says Tehran wants to build a bomb which will be aimed at them (pictured, one of Iran's nuclear facilities at Karaj)

Iran says it intends to use nuclear technology peacefully, while Israel claims Tehran plans to create a bomb that will target them.

Gantz posted on Twitter that he was leaving for America, saying: “We will discuss the possible options to stop Iran’s attempt to enter into the nuclear sphere. His explanation was not clear.

According to the official of the European Union, who is chairing the negotiations, the nuclear talks will be resumed on Thursday. The U.S. special representative for Iran also plans to attend the meetings over the weekend.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has begun enriching uranium up to 20% purity using one cluster or cascade of 166 advanced IR-6 machine at its Fordow facility. This plant is dug into a mountain making it more difficult to attack.

Iran received sanctions relief in 2015, while strict restrictions were placed on its activities in uranium enrichment. The agreement extended the period it needed to produce sufficient fissile material to build a nuclear weapon to at least one year, instead of two or three months. Most experts agree that the time period for producing nuclear weapons material is significantly shorter.

This pact doesn’t allow Iran enrich uranium in Fordow, and it does not permit advanced centrifuges. 

Officials from the West claim that the deal’s nukes benefits are now severely compromised and there is not much time to save the deal.

These drills could be used by Israel and the United States to address Dennis Ross’s call for a U.S. senior official, Middle East expert and other experts to signal openly to Iran that they are serious about stopping Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.

Ross last month wrote that Biden must disabuse Iran from the idea Washington won’t act militarily, and would stop Israel doing so.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz (pictured) is travelling to the US where sources say the two sides will discuss joint drills to prepare for attacks on Iran

Benny Gantz is the Israeli Defense Minister. He has been pictured. According to sources, the US and Israel will hold joint drills in preparation for Iranian attacks.

Ross also suggested that America should signal willingness to offer the Israeli military the massive bomber-busting Massive Ordnance Penetrator. This is a 35,000-pound bomb.

The senior U.S. official was asked to clarify his remarks on deterrence. He said that when President Biden stated Iran would never acquire a nuclear weapon, he meant it.

Central Intelligence Agency Director Bill Burns claimed Monday that although the CIA did not think Iran’s supreme leadership has made a decision to arm a nuclear bomb, they noted Iran’s progress in enriching uranium. This is one route to a weapon for making nuclear weapons.

Burns reminded Iran that even if they decided to proceed, there would be a lot to do to arm that material and attach it to a missile or another delivery system.

“But they’re farther along in their knowledge of the nuclear fuel cycles and that’s what’s very difficult to sanction away.

American officials are also concerned about America’s capability to destroy the dispersed parts of Iran’s nuke weaponization program, once sufficient fissile materials for a bomb have been produced.