Iran threatened by U.S. buster bomb
Tehran (UPI) Oct 8, 2009
The Pentagon has acknowledged that it is speeding up plans to deploy a massive bomb capable of knocking out deeply buried enemy facilities.
The giant "bunker buster" is believed to add fighting power to the U.S. arsenal against Iran's nuclear program, defense experts argue.
U.S. officials, however, have refused to confirm the connection.
The 30,000-pound massive ordnance penetrator is capable of penetrating up to 60 meters of earth, or a thick layer of concrete, before exploding. It weighs more than 13 metric tons, allowing just one such bunker buster to be carried by U.S. bomber aircraft.
"It is under development right now and should be deployable in the coming months," press secretary Geoff Morrell was quoted saying in a report by Defense News.
U.S. Pentagon officials said they had asked Congress in August to redirect $52 million in funding to the project in order to speed up production of the massive bomb.
After winning congressional approval, the Pentagon said this week that it had awarded Boeing's McDonnell Douglas a $51.9 million contract to "enable B-2 aircraft" to carry the bomb.
"The threats have been developing over the years," a Pentagon spokesman was quoted saying to U.S. media. "There are, without getting into any intelligence, there are countries that have used technologies to go further underground and to take those facilities and make them hardened. This is not a new phenomenon, but it is a growing one."
He said the first of the bombs would be ready by the middle of 2010.
While the United States possess similar bombs in its arsenal, the "bunker buster" is said to take that capability of penetrating hardened facilities to new levels.
Pentagon officials refused to clarify whether the bomb's development was in response to Iran's controversial nuclear arms program.
Last month Defense Secretary Robert Gates said an attack against Iran would only "buy time," delaying Tehran's dispute nuclear program by about three years.
That same month Iran conceded that it had begun building a new uranium enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom. It has since then, however, taken a more conciliatory stance allowing for U.N. inspection of the site.
It is believed that the MOP, manufactured by aerospace giant Boeing, could become the biggest conventional weapon bomb to arm the United States.
earlier related report
Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's deputy representative to the elite Revolutionary Guards, Mojtaba Zolnour, said Tehran will "blow up the heart" of Israel if attacked by the Jewish state or the United States.
"Even if one American or Zionist missile hits our land, before the dust is settled, Iranian missiles will blow up the heart of Israel," state news agency IRNA quoted Zolnour as saying.
Iranian officials have repeatedly said Tehran would carry out severe reprisals if Israel or the United States attacked the country.
The United States and its regional ally Israel have never ruled out a military option to stop Tehran's nuclear drive, which the West says is aimed at making nuclear weapons while Iran says it is solely for peaceful ends.
After the 1979 Islamic revolution, Tehran withdrew its recognition of Israel.
The Jewish state considers the Islamic republic to be its arch-enemy after repeated statements by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Holocaust was a "myth" and that Israel is doomed to be "wiped off the map."
Another Khamenei appointee and one of Tehran's Friday prayer leaders, Ahmad Khatami, also issued a stern warning to Iran's enemies, without naming any.
"As our leader has said, our enemies are pursuing an Iranophobia scenario against us, and they are saying Iran is against world peace. But the world has understood that what they say is a lie," Khatami told worshippers in a sermon broadcast live on state-run radio.
"The enemy should know that if they want to hurt Iran they will receive such a slap that they will not be able to stand up," he added amid the habitual chants of "death to American and death to Israel."
Last month, Iran disclosed that it was building a second uranium enrichment plant, angering world powers and drawing an accusation from UN atomic watchdog chief Mohamed ElBaradei that having kept the work secret was on the "wrong side of the law."
Tensions increased only days later, and just days before crucial talks in Geneva with world powers over Tehran's controversial nuclear programme, when Tehran tested several short- and medium-range missiles.
Khatami labelled those talks a "success and victory."
"The Geneva talks were a success and a victory for the Islamic republic system (since) even the Zionist and world arrogances' media confirmed this," he said.
"We owe this success to the wise guidance of the supreme leader and the ninth and tenth governments following his guidance," he added in reference to Ahmadinejad's previous and current administrations.
Iranian officials have maintained that they had the upper hand in the negotiations, with Ahmadinejad on Wednesday calling them a "step forward."
Western governments have been seeking reassurances that Iran's nuclear programme is entirely peaceful, and Iran agreed to open the newly disclosed enrichment plant to UN inspection.
Soon after the talks, ElBaradei visited Tehran to work out the modalities of the inspection, which is due to take place on October 25.
Iran also offered to send low-enriched uranium abroad so that it could be enriched to higher levels by a third party, and is to meet with France, Russia and the United States in Vienna on October 19 to work out the modalities.
Uranium enrichment lies at the heart of Western concerns about the Iranian nuclear programme. The sensitive process can produce fuel for civilian nuclear reactors or, in highly extended form, the fissile core of an atomic bomb.
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Tehran (AFP) Oct 9, 2009
Iran will "blow up the heart" of Israel if attacked by the Jewish state or the United States, an aide to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted on Friday as saying. "Even if one American or Zionist missile hits our land, before the dust is settled, Iranian missiles will blow up the heart of Israel," state news agency IRNA quoted Khamenei's representative to the elite Revolutionary ... read more
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