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U.S. Airs Details on Potential Iran Airstrike

Two Israeli news publications have reported receiving details from the Obama administration on blueprints for a potential aerial campaign against atomic installations in Iran, the London Times reported on Monday (see GSN, Aug. 3).

The alleged battle map’s circulation to Maariv and Yediot Aharonot apparently followed the conclusion of U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s trip to Israel last week, according to theTimes.

Washington and Tel Aviv both suspect Iranian nuclear activities are geared toward development of a weapon capability; Tehran insists its atomic ambitions are strictly peaceful. The Obama administration has said it is ready to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions through military force should a strategy of intensified sanctions and diplomatic engagement fail to resolve the longstanding impasse, but Israeli officials have voiced concern that delaying action would give Tehran time to render key atomic assets less vulnerable to attack by transferring them to better protected sites (see GSN, March 20).

The Pentagon chief behind closed doors voiced exasperation about the lack of faith that Israel’s prime minister and defense minister have shown over Washington’s dedication to stopping Iran’s atomic progress, the reports quoted Israeli insiders as saying. U.S. armed force is capable of fully eliminating the Iranian endeavor, whereas Tel Aviv could only set it back by 12 to 24 months, U.S. government personnel said in the Israeli press accounts.

A U.S. campaign would start with the elimination of Iranian anti-air threat systems, information collection sites and detection equipment by hundreds of cruise missiles, according to Maariv. Every Iranian atomic installation would then come under assault by ground-penetrating ordnance deployed from B-52 bomber aircraft, the newspaper said (see GSN, July 27).

Tehran would then receive a call to halt all weapon-related atomic efforts in exchange for atomic energy systems from Western powers, Maariv said (Uzi Mahnaimi, London Times/The Australian, Aug. 6).

Meanwhile, a leading Iranian religious figure on Friday stressed the gravity of the international financial penalties adopted against his country over its atomic efforts, Agence France-Presse reported.

“This is war,” said Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, secretary of the Guardian Council.

“The nation, government, officials and armed forces” must take action in response to the “special and serious economic problems” exceeding those faced by moribund global markets, Jannati said.

“We should prepare and break this wave (of economic pressure). We should not surrender,” the official added.

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is overseeing activities to address the problems, said Jannati, who advised Iranian news organizations against issuing “pessimistic” reports (Agence France-Presse I/Dawn, Aug. 4).

The Obama administration should blacklist National Iranian Oil and National Iranian Tanker as affiliates of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said on Thursday.

“As Iran moves rapidly toward acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, and the relationship between the [Revolutionary Guard], and [National Iranian Tanker and National Iranian Oil] becomes more apparent, the time is now to designate these entities accordingly and deny them the ability to provide critical resources to the regime,” Ros-Lehtinen told Obama in a written communication.

“In order to effectively sanction the Iranian regime, we must target the companies that feed the Revolutionary Guard Corps,” she stated. “These tough new sanctions will deny the Iranian regime the ability to repatriate oil sales, therefore depriving them of critical funds” (U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee release, Aug. 3).

Elsewhere, eight men and five women have admitted to carrying out deadly strikes against Iranian atomic research personnel, Iranian government-controlled television said on Monday, adding “Washington and London” had organized the targeted attacks (see GSN, Jan. 11). The Iranian report identified the individuals, and it displayed footage of several structures described as parts of an Israeli armed forces site involved in preparing the attackers, AFP reported (Agence France-Presse II/London Telegraph, Aug. 6).

Iranian Communications Minister Reza Taghipour said his country is set in September to disconnect critical government organizations from global computer networks to help protect the agencies from electronic strikes, the London Telegraph reported on Sunday (Robert Tait, LondonTelegraph, Aug. 5).



August 06, 2012

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