A recent report indicates that President Trump may soon order the bombing of Iran nuclear facilities, and Australia says it will help.
Senior Australian officials told ABC News that President Trump is preparing to order strikes as early as August, and has tasked Australia’s defense agency with assisting in identifying the nuclear facilities.
One senior Australian official noted that providing the intelligence on Iran nuclear facilities was not akin to participating in the bombing mission.
“Developing a picture is very different to actually participating in a strike,” the official said.
“Providing intelligence and understanding as to what is happening on the ground so that the Government and allied governments are fully informed to make decisions is different to active targeting,” the official added.
At a press conference last week, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis dismissed the idea that the U.S. was considering bombing Iranian nuclear facilities, ABC News reported.
“I have no idea where the Australian news people got that information,” he said. “I’m confident it is not something that’s being considered right now and I think it’s a complete, frankly, it’s fiction.”
SecDef Mattis denies ABC report quoting senior Australian gov figures as saying U.S. is prepared to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities perhaps as early as next month. “frankly its fiction as best I can give you,” Mattis said. https://t.co/KBHSwnj7Zs
— Golnaz Esfandiari (@GEsfandiari) July 27, 2018
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also denied that the U.S. was preparing for conflict with Iran.
“President Trump has made his views very clear to the whole world, but this story … has not benefited from any consultation with me, the Foreign Minister, the Defense Minister or the Chief of the Defense Force,” he said.
Australia’s joint defense facility, Pine Gap, is a crucial intelligence facility for its partners – the U.S., U.K., Canada, New Zealand and Australia. It is expected that this facility, along with the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organization, would provide intelligence to the U.S.
Although Iran committed to a nuclear agreement in which they vowed not to continue their creation of nuclear weapons, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has bragged about his country’s nuclear progress.
An Iranian nuclear chief said that Iran had more than doubled its uranium stockpiles to over 900 tons, and was on the brink of uranium enrichment. Just weeks earlier, Iran also announced it had opened a new facility for nuclear enrichment that would supposedly comply with the 2015 nuclear deal.
President Trump and Rouhani exchanged threats recently, which some thought indicated an impending military conflict.
Rouhani reportedly told Iranian diplomats: “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”
“Do not play with the lion’s tail or else you will regret it,” he added.
President Trump responded in an all-caps tweet: “To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”
To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018
Since the exchange, however, President Trump has said his administration is prepared to hold nuclear talks with Iran.