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. Report On Israeli Iran Strike Incorrect Says Foreign Ministry

Iran Vows To Cooperate With UN Atomic Agency
Tehran (AFP) Jan 07 - Iran vowed on Sunday to continue cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) despite the UN Security Council sanctions imposed over its nuclear programme. "It is not on Iran's agenda to halt cooperation with the IAEA," foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said. "Tehran's cooperation with the agency will continue within the previous framework". The Iranian government said on Tuesday it was keeping open the option of quitting the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), if Western countries stepped up pressure on the Islamic republic over its atomic program.

Hosseini said "if a special condition is created, a decision will be made for that", without specifying Iran's reaction. The Iranian parliament last month passed a bill that obliges the government to revise its cooperation with the IAEA in response to the UN Security Council's move. The UN Security Council voted unanimously last December to impose sanctions on Iran for its refusal to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment work.

by Staff Writers
Jerusalem (AFP) Jan 07, 2007
Israel said Sunday that a report in The Sunday Times that the Jewish state had drawn up plans to destroy Iran's uranium enrichment facilities in a tactical nuclear strike was "incorrect." The story is "incorrect," foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev said. "Israel is 100 percent behind the international community's efforts to bring about an end to Iran's nuclear program. Israel totally supports Resolution 1737 and the international community must be ready to take even tougher measures against Iran," he said.

Earlier Immigrant Absorption Minister Zeev Boim dismissed the report in the British newspaper -- which in 1986 first exposed Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal -- as "rumors."

He told reporters before Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting that "it's better for Israel to remain in the backlines and support international efforts to prevent Iran's nuclear program."

And a senior Israeli official dismissed the report as "absurd."

"This is absurd information coming from a newspaper that has already in the past distinguished itself with sensationalist headlines that in the end amounted to nothing," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"To think that we will launch an atomic attack against Iran, and on top of that that we would reveal it in advance to a foreign newspaper is doubly ridiculous," he said.

"The Israeli policy on this dossier, recommended by former prime minister Ariel Sharon and followed by his successor Ehud Olmert, has not changed and Israel is not planning to attack Iran militarily," he said.

"The solution that we recommend, along with the international community, is that of sanctions imposed on Iran."

Quoting several Israeli military sources, the Sunday Times said that Israel has drawn up plans to destroy Iran's uranium enrichment facilities in a tactical nuclear strike using low-yield "bunker busting" bombs.

It quoted the sources as saying that two of the Jewish state's air force squadrons are training to use the weapons for a single strike.

The plan is similar to one said in a report in the New Yorker magazine last April to have been considered by the United States. The White House dismissed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh's article as "ill-informed".

Iran, which has defied UN Security Council demands to halt uranium enrichment, says its nuclear program is meant for civilian purposes only.

But Israel, widely considered the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, suspects -- together with the West -- that the Islamic republic's real aim is to develop a nuclear arsenal that would dramatically tip the balance of power in the region.

earlier related report
Israel plans 'nuclear' strike on Iran
London (AFP) Jan 07 - Israel has drawn up plans to destroy Iranian uranium enrichment facilities with a tactical nuclear strike, a British newspaper said Sunday in a report rejected by the Jewish state.

The Sunday Times quoted several Israeli military sources as saying that two of the country's air force squadrons are training to use "bunker-busting" bombs for a single strike.

The story is "incorrect", Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev said.

"Israel is 100 percent behind the international community's efforts to bring about an end to Iran's nuclear program. Israel totally supports Resolution 1737 and the international community must be ready to take even tougher measures against Iran," he said.

The Sunday Times -- which in 1986 first revealed Israel's undeclared nuclear arsenal -- said the plans involved sending conventional, laser-guided missiles to open up "tunnels" in the targets before "mini-nukes" with a force the equivalent of one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb are fired in.

"As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished," one of the unnamed sources was quoted as saying.

A senior Israeli official dismissed the report out of hand.

"This is absurd information coming from a newspaper that has already in the past distinguished itself with sensationalist headlines that in the end amounted to nothing," the official, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

"To think that we will launch an atomic attack against Iran, and on top of that that we would reveal it in advance to a foreign newspaper is doubly ridiculous," the official added.

"The solution that we recommend, along with the international community, is that of sanctions imposed on Iran."

Iran warned of dire consequences in the event of any such Israeli attack.

"Any action against the Islamic republic will not go without a response and the aggressor would regret the action very quickly," foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told reporters.

He described the Sunday Times report as "proof of the weakness of the enemy and will have no effect on the determination of the Islamic republic to continue its (nuclear) activities."

Israel and the United States, the Islamic republic's two arch-enemies, accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon -- a charge vehemently denied by Tehran, which refuses to bow to United Nations demands to halt uranium enrichment work.

Even after the UN Security Council agreed to impose its first-ever sanctions on Iran in December, Israel has pushed for tougher international action against the Islamic republic.

Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has in the past called for Israel to be wiped off the map and also casting doubt on the scale of the Holocaust.

Israel has refused to rule out pre-emptive military action against Iran. In 1981, it took action against Iraq's nuclear reactor in Osirak.

Israel is considered to be the sole nuclear weapons power in the Middle East. It does not officially acknowlege that it has an arsenal although Prime Minister Ehud Olmert appeared to do so in an apparent lapse last year.

The three prime targets for Israeli action are said to be the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, a uranium conversion facility near Isfahan and a heavy water reactor at Arak, The Sunday Times reported.

The nuclear option is being considered because Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes may not be effective enough at destroying the well-defended facilities, it said.

The atomic weapons would explode deep underground to minimise the risk of radioactive fall-out, it added.

US and Israeli officials had met several times to consider military action, it added, saying military analysts assessed that disclosing the plans could put pressure on Iran to halt sensitive uranium enrichment activities.

It could also be designed to persuade the United States to act or "soften up" world opinion ahead of an Israeli pre-emptive strike.

Israeli pilots are said to have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks to train for the 2,000-mile (3,220-kilometre) round-trip to the Iranian targets. Three possible routes have been mapped out, including one over Turkey, the report said.

The plan is similar to one said in a report in the New Yorker magazine last April to have been considered by the United States. The White House dismissed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh's article as "ill-informed".

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com

US To Announce New Nuclear Warhead
Washington (AFP) Jan 6, 2007
The United States is expected to announce next week a major step forward in the building of the country's first new nuclear warhead in nearly two decades, The New York Times reported on its website Saturday. The newspaper said the US government will propose combining elements of competing designs from two weapons laboratories in an approach that some experts argue is untested and risky.

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