(Axios) – The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.


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Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations, not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20th.

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  • The IDF’s preparedness measures relate to possible Iranian retaliation against Israel directly or through Iranian proxies in Syria, Gaza, and Lebanon, the Israeli officials said.

Flashback: Last week, the New York Times reported that Trump raised the possibility of attacking Iran’s uranium enrichment facility in Natanz in a meeting with senior members of his national security team.

  • Trump raised the idea after being briefed on an International Atomic Energy Agency report about Iran’s growing stockpiles of enriched uranium, but top officials — including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — warned about the risks of regional escalation, per the Times.
  • Trump seemed convinced that it would be too risky to strike Iran directly, but has considered other options, the Times reports.

What’s happening: Israeli minister of defense Benny Gantz spoke twice in the last two weeks with Christopher Miller, Trump’s acting defense secretary. They discussed Iran as well as Syria and defense cooperation. READ MORE

Axios is an American news and information website founded in 2016 by Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei, Politico’s former chief White House correspondent, Mike Allen, and former Politico chief revenue officer, Roy Schwartz. The site’s name is based on the Greek: ἄξιος, meaning “worthy”. It officially launched in 2017.