The US announced it will take further indirect action against Iran in an effort to delay a possible Israeli strike against the country. Washington’s plans to halt Iran’s embattled nuclear program include military exercises in the Persian Gulf.
In addition to increasing US naval activity in the region, Washington is also preparing to intensify economic sanctions against Iran’s oil industry, the New York Times reported.
The US – along with 25 other countries – will conduct extensive joint minesweeping exercises in the Persian Gulf in October. The move aims to increase pressure on Iran and prevent it from closing the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has also scheduled war games for this autumn, which are intended to dissuade the international community against an attack.
Washington is currently treading a fine line in the Israel-Iran dispute amid increasingly hawkish rhetoric from the Israeli government, which is pressing for an immediate strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
The Obama administration has urged Israel to refrain from military action and allow more time for diplomatic initiative. On Sunday, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanhayu called on world leaders to draw a “clear red line” for action against Iranian nuclear activities.
Israel has criticized Washington for its perceived unwillingness to back an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear program.
A UN report released on Thursday said that although Iran had more than doubled the number of centrifuges in its fortified underground facility at Fordo since May, the new machines are still not operational. Israel and the US accuse Iran of enriching uranium for in order to build atomic weapons. Iran denies the claims, maintaining that its nuclear activities are purely for civilian purposes.