Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

US Has Military Options Against Iran, And Risks Backlash

The Bushehr 1,000 megawatt nuclear plant (pictured) would be a prime target.-->
by Jerome Bernard
Washington (AFP) Jan 25, 2006
The United States has military options to use against Iran even though it is concentrating now on a diplomatic campaign to head off any Iranian move to develop a nuclear bomb.

For most experts a bombing strike against a limited number of suspected nuclear sites is the most likely option being considered.

The consultancy said there are about two dozen suspected nuclear facilities in Iran and that the Bushehr 1,000 megawatt nuclear plant would be a prime target.

Also the suspected nuclear facilities at Natanz and Arak will likely be targets of an air attack by B-2 or F-117 bombers, it said in an analysis on the crisis.

"American air strikes on Iran would vastly exceed the scope of the 1981 Israeli attack on the Osiraq nuclear center in Iraq, and would more resemble the opening days of the 2003 air campaign against Iraq," said.

But Peter Brookes, an expert on national security and foreign policy at the Heritage Foundation think-tank, said that "flattening Iran's nuclear infrastructure isn't easy or risk-free" because most of the facilities are underground.

"Iran burrowed many sites deep below the soil, making them much tougher targets (it also put some sites near populated areas to make civilian casualities a certainty if attacked)," he said in a report.

Brookes said there were about 20 known nuclear sites across Iran but the final figure could be higher than 70.

The United States could also carry out a "more comprehensive set of strikes" against nuclear and other military targets "that might be used to counterattack against US forces in Iraq", said.

Another option would be an invasion, but with US forces already stretched in Iraq such an operation appears unlikely.

But US Army Secretary Francis Harvey said last week that the United States could deploy 15 extra brigades, between 45,000 and 75,000 troops, if it faced a new crisis.

Iran's reaction to any kind of military action remains a mystery.

Joseph Cirincione, director for non-proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said an attack could "rally the Iranian public around an otherwise unpopular government and jeopardize further the US position in Iraq."

"The strike would not, as is often said, delay the Iranian program. It would almost certainly speed it up," he commented.

Cirincione called the Israeli strike in 1981 "a tactical success but a strategic failure" because it accelerated the Iranian nuclear programme.

Brookes also warned of a potentially extreme response by Iran against the United States and Israel.

"The Iranian regime is already up to its neck in the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. It could certainly increase its financial/material support to the Sunni insurgents, Shia militants, Al-Qaeda and the Taliban to destabilize the new Baghdad and Kabul governments," he said.

"It could also mess with other nations' oil exports -- attacking tankers in the Gulf using mines, subs, patrol boats or anti-ship missiles.

"The mullahs could unleash their terrorist attack dogs Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad against Israel, killing untold numbers in suicide attacks."

The Atlantic Monthly magazine staged a war game simulation of such an attack in 2004 with security experts.

It concluded that the United States had "no way of predicting the long-term strategic impact of such a strike.

"A strike might delay by three years Iran's attainment of its goal -- but at the cost of further embittering the regime and its people. Iran's intentions when it did get the bomb would be all the more hostile," the Atlantic Monthly said the experts concluded.

Iran insists it is not seeking to build nuclear weapons, but that it has the right to develop atomic energy for peaceful electricity generation.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links

SKorea Warns Of Friction With US Over NKorea
Seoul (AFP) Jan 25, 2006
South Korea warned the United States on Wednesday of trouble ahead in their relations after an angry dispute broke out over US sanctions against communist North Korea.

  • Year Of Dog Signals Calm Before A Storm Say Chinese Soothsayers
  • OutsideView: How Big Is The Defense Budget
  • China's Africa Expansion
  • US Army Can Surge Troops To Meet Any Crisis

  • SKorea Warns Of Friction With US Over NKorea
  • US Puts China, SKorea On The Spot Over Korean Nuke Crisis
  • US Has Military Options Against Iran, And Risks Backlash
  • Annan Warns Against Use Of Nuclear Weapons

  • Northrop Grumman Wins Contract For Target And Space-Launch Missile Work
  • LockMart/Netfires Tests Loitering Attack Missile Warhead
  • LockMart Conducts Three Tests Of The GMLRS Unitary Rocket
  • Raytheon Team For APKWS II Demonstrates Semi-Active Laser Sensor Dome Survivability

  • General Dynamics Awarded Contract For TRIDENT Ballistic Missile System
  • Kinetic Energy Interceptor Team Perform Static Test-Fire Of Stage 2 Rocket Motor
  • US Japan To Integrate BMD IT Networks
  • BMD Focus: The Missiles Of Taiwan

  • Bombardier Challenger 605 Executes Flawless First Flight
  • Boeing Introduces New 737 Signals Intelligence Aircraft
  • Boeing Awarded Canadian CF-18 Avionics Upgrade
  • Wedgetail Aircraft Delivered To Boeing Australia

  • Autonomous Fire Scout UAV Lands On Ship
  • Oshkosh Unveils Next Gen Unmanned Defense Logistics Vehicle
  • USAF Take Delivery Of First Production Global Hawks
  • Northrop Grumman's Navy Fire Scout Gets Its Sea Legs

  • Iraq And Afghanistan Puts US Military Under Critical Strain
  • Iraqi Women Seek Leadership Positions
  • Missile Brought Down US Chopper In Iraq
  • Another Grim Week In Iraq

  • UK-French Initiative On Lightweight Radar Breaks Ground For Defence R&T
  • Jamming Systems Drive $28Bn Electronic Warfare Market
  • Netherlands Buys BvS10 From BAE Systems Hagglunds
  • C & C Technologies Builds Its Third AUV

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement