Senior figures in the Turnbull Government have told the ABC they believe the United States is prepared to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities, perhaps as early as next month, and that Australia is poised to help identify possible targets.
It comes amid intense sabre-rattling by US President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.
The ABC has been told Australian defence facilities would likely play a role in identifying targets in Iran, as would British intelligence agencies.
But a senior security source emphasised there was a big difference between providing accurate intelligence and analysis on Iran's facilities and being part of a "kinetic" mission.
"Developing a picture is very different to actually participating in a strike," the source 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."
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said this morning he had no reason to believe the US was preparing for a military confrontation.
"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 Defence Minister or the Chief of the Defence Force," he said.
The top-secret Pine Gap joint defence facility in the Northern Territory is considered crucial among the so-called "Five Eyes" intelligence partners — the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand — for its role in directing American spy satellites.