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US Air Chief Says Iran Nuke Option Not Under Debate

General T. Michael Moseley (pictured) said the air force's ability to destroy buried, hardened targets using conventional weapons depends on how deep they are. "There are a variety of weapons that can penetrate concrete and steel structures, and there are variety of weapons that can penetrate a mix of concrete and steel and sand and rubble structures," he said.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Apr 12, 2006
The chief of the US Air Force said Tuesday he has not taken part in any internal debate over whether nuclear weapons should be considered as a military option against Iran.

The New Yorker magazine, in an article published over the weekend, said the attention being given the nuclear option within the US administration had aroused serious misgivings within the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and some officers had talked about resigning.

"I've not been in any meeting that is portrayed in the way the articles are written over the weekend," said General T. Michael Moseley, who as the air force chief of staff is a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the president's top military advisors.

He added that he was not considering resigning.

President George W. Bush on Monday dismissed as "wild speculation" that the Pentagon has stepped up planning for possible military strikes, insisting that the United States remains committed to diplomacy in dealing with Iran's nuclear program.

Iran also has rejected the reports as being part of a psychological warfare campaign.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that the government was studying options for military strikes as part of a broader campaign to coerce Tehran into giving up its alleged quest for nuclear weapons.

The New Yorker story by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh said the one of the military options presented last winter called for the use of bunker-busting tactical nuclear weapons such as the B61-11 against alleged Iran underground nuclear sites.

"There are always operational planning endeavours ongoing whether it's in Korea, whether it's in Southcom, whether its in Eucom, or Centcom," said Moseley, referring to the US military's combat commands around the world.

He added: "It's not appropriate to comment on particular military options."

Among the many challenges US military planners face in Iran is that its nuclear facilities are scattered and some are buried in undergound bunkers, raising the question whether they could be destroyed with conventional weapons.

Stipulating that he was talking about general capabilities and not an Iran scenario, Moseley said the air force's ability to destroy buried, hardened targets using conventional weapons depends on how deep they are.

"There are a variety of weapons that can penetrate concrete and steel structures, and there are variety of weapons that can penetrate a mix of concrete and steel and sand and rubble structures," Moseley said.

"It depends on how deep and it depends on how the structure is put together," he said. "There are potentials I would suppose of things so deep and so hardened that it would be hard to get through with anything."

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Rumsfeld Says Talk Of US Military Strikes On Iran Are Fantasyland
Washington (AFP) Apr 12, 2006
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Tuesday dismissed as "fantasyland" reports that the Pentagon is planning military strikes against Iran. Rumsfeld refused to discuss whether the US military has stepped up plans for military strikes against Iran, and joined President George W. Bush in attacking such news reports as unfounded speculation.







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