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RIYADH: The United States and Israel are considering holding joint military exercises to simulate an attack on Iran and its proxies in the Middle East, US media reported Tuesday.

Israeli Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley weigh holding an Air Force exercise to train soldiers for a possible conflict with Iran and its allied proxies, Fox News Digital reportedsaying it could happen in the coming weeks.

During the discussion with Milley, Kochavi said, “It was agreed that we are at a critical juncture that requires the acceleration of operational plans and cooperation against Iran and its terrorist proxies in the region.”

He said that the Israel Defense Forces promotes all operational plans against the Iranian threat. “Iran is under a lot of economic, military and internal pressures, and on the other hand, it continues to promote its nuclear program.”

At the Pentagon, the two military leaders discussed “regional security issues, opportunities for greater bilateral cooperation and coordination to defend against a wide range of threats posed by Iran in the region and other elements of ‘mutual strategic interest’, according to a reading of the report. Meet. “The United States and Israel enjoy a strong military-to-military relationship as key partners committed to peace and security in the Middle East region. »

On Tuesday, Iranian media reported that enrichment of uranium to 60% purity had begun at the Fordow underground nuclear site.

Iran already enriches uranium to 60% purity elsewhere, well below the roughly 90% needed for weapons-grade materials, but above the 20% it produced before the 2015 deal with the major powers to cap enrichment at 3.67%.

The United States, under the Donald Trump administration, withdrew from the agreement which sought to limit development that could lead to Iranian nuclear weapons in exchange for an easing of sanctions. Trump argued that the sanctions relief had enabled Iran to increase its aggression in the Middle East, a position supported by US allies in the region.

The pact allows Iran to use only first-generation IR-1 centrifuges, but when the deal collapsed in 2018 Tehran installed more efficient advanced centrifuge cascades, such as the IR-2m , IR-4 and IR-6.

Meanwhile, US Navy investigators investigating an attack last week on a tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire have concluded that an Iranian drone was used in the bombing.

The drone attack on the Liberian-flagged oil tanker Pacific Zircon last Tuesday off the coast of Oman appears to be part of the long shadow war between Israel and its nemesis Iran, which has included targeting ships linked to Israel in the strategic Middle East. watercourse.

(With input from AP, Reuters)

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