Sunday Times says Israel is planning nuclear strike against Iran

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Sunday, January 7, 2007

Israel and Iran

According to The Sunday Times, Israel is planning to use nuclear bunker busters to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities. The newspaper cites several Israeli military sources.

The report says that Israeli airforce squadrons at Hatzerim and Tel Nof Airbase are training to use low-yield nuclear "bunker-busters". Some of Iran's facilities have been built underground and would thus be difficult to hit using conventional weapons. Targets would include the uranium enrichment facilities of Natanz, a site near Isfahan where gas for the enrichment process have been stored underground, and a heavy water reactor in Arak.

"As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished." said a source. The tactical nuclear weapons would only be used if conventional weapons were "ruled out" and if the United States "declined to intervene", the article continues, based on "senior" military sources.

Military analysts say that disclosure of the plans could be intended to put pressure on Iran to halt enrichment (which Iran says is for peaceful purposes), prod the United States into action or soften up world opinion in advance of an Israeli attack, according to the report. On December 24, Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed a resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council imposing sanctions on Iran, calling it a "piece of paper". The Iranian Ambassador to the UN responded to the sanctions saying "A nation is being punished for exercising its inalienable rights." accusing the council of acting at the "behest of a dangerous regime with aggression and war crimes as its signature brand of behavior.", referring to Israel.

Most members of the Israeli government and military refused to comment on the report. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev denied the plans for a military intervention, saying that Israel is supporting diplomatic efforts. Ephraim Kam, a strategic expert at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Strategic Studies and a former senior army intelligence officer, also dismissed the report. "No reliable source would ever speak about this, certainly not to the Sunday Times," Kam told the Associated Press.

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