The US may be ready to target Iran’s nuclear facilities soon amid a bellicose exchange of threats between the two countries, ABC reported. However, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull dismissed the claim as “speculation.”

The outlet cites senior figures in the government of Malcolm Turnbull, who believe the United States is “prepared” to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites. The grim prediction suggests the move could happen as early as next month.

The report comes at a time when tensions between Washington and Tehran are hitting boiling point. In one of the latest exchanges of threats between the two nations, Iran said that a war with it would be the “mother of all wars.” This prompted Donald Trump to issue a harsh response, warning that Iran would face“consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”

READ MORE: ‘War will destroy everything you own,’ head of Iran’s elite troops warns Trump

Australia, a member of global intelligence alliance known as the Five Eyes, is reportedly poised to play a part in the operation, providing its defense facilities to identify targets in Iran. The same assistance may be offered by the UK, while two other parties in the alliance – Canada and New Zealand – “would be unlikely to play a role in any military action in Iran,” according to ABC.

However, the outlet’s security sources noted the significant difference between a country directly participating in a mission, and providing intelligence on Iranian facilities.

US warns it is ‘locked and loaded’ if Assad uses chemical weapons again

Donald Trump has hailed coordinated US, British and French air strikes on Syria as “mission accomplished”.

The military action was launched in the early hours of Saturday morning to punish the Syrian regime for a chemical weapons attack.

The US president said the military action by US, British and French jets had been “perfectly executed”.

At a press conference in Downing Street on Saturday morning, Theresa May said: “There is no graver decision for a prime minister than to commit our forces to combat and this is the first time I have had to do so.”

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, said the strike had a “destructive influence on the entire system of international relations” and called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

Three Syrian sites involved in the use of chemical weapons were targeted in the attack – one scientific facility near Damascus and two storage facilities near Homs. Pentagon officials said that 105 missiles had been fired in the strike at the three targets.

Addressing the nation in a televised statement late on Friday evening, Mr Trump said it was a response to the “evil and despicable” chemical attack by the Syrian regime last Saturday.

He said: “The purpose of our actions tonight is to establish a strong deterrent against the production, spread and use of chemical weapons. Establishing this deterrent is a vital national security interest of the United States.”

Mr Trump added: “To Iran and to Russia I ask – what kind of regime wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children?


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FILE PHOTO: Iran's military drill in the Strait of Hormuz © Hamed Jafarnejad


“Developing a picture is very different to actually participating in a strike,” the unnamed security source said.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull dismissed the ABC’s report calling it a “speculation.” He acknowledged though that “the whole world” is aware of Trump’s attitude towards Iran.

Later on Friday, US Defense Secretary James Mattis also blasted the ABC report, calling it “complete fiction,” according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, the commander of the Iranian elite Quds Force cautioned Trump, should he resort to military action, saying on Thursday that “war will destroy everything you own.” He also warned the US against further public outbursts against Iran’s leadership and its people.

US-Iranian relations has been on a downward spiral since the US leader put into action his longstanding threat to withdraw from the landmark Iran nuclear deal in May, citing its supposed flaws and Iran’s malign activities. However, the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed that Tehran had not been violating the agreement.

The European signatories of the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), were reluctant to comply with Trump’s calls to rip it apart. On the contrary, they vowed to maintain it – even without Washington’s participation – and hold additional talks with Tehran. America’s withdrawal was also condemned by Russia and China, which are also signatories of the JCPOA.

Head of the Russian Upper House Committee for International Relations Senator Konstantin Kosachev warned that the world may face a crisis worse than that seen on the Korean peninsula if world powers sit idle in the wake of Trump’s decision.




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