Newspaper alleges U.S. drawing up plans to attack Iran

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The British newspaper Sunday Telegraph has reported on alleged plans for a U.S. attack on Iran. The plans were allegedly made in retaliation for Iran's uranium enrichment program due to suspicions that it is for military application in the development of nuclear weapons.

The paper has also reported that the alleged plans to attack Iran may be a possible motivation for the development of nuclear weapons by Iran; there have been other threats of military response by both the U.S. and Israel.

The nation of Iran. Graphic from the CIA World Factbook

On February 12, 2006, the Sunday Telegraph claimed that strategists at the Pentagon are "drawing up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran's nuclear sites" as '"a last resort" for the situation.

The newspaper also claims that preparations are extremely active, stating, "Central Command and Strategic Command planners are identifying targets, assessing weapon-loads and working on logistics for an operation,".

Assessments of the time scale for Iran to possibly develop nuclear weapons include three to ten years. According to the Centre for Nonproliferation Studies, cities likely to be targets because of their alleged role in nuclear weapons development include medium-size towns such as Bushehr or Bushire (بوشهر), population estimated as 165,000 (2005) and Arak with a population of about 511,000 (2005) and the small mountain town of Natanz.

Just a few days earlier, an InterPress Service article by Gareth Porter reported that two ex-CIA operatives, Paul Pillar and Ellen Laipson, as saying that one of the main reasons motivating Iran to move towards developing nuclear weapons was the belief in a threat of attack by the United States and/or Israel.

According to this InterPress Service report, ex-CIA official Paul Pillar led the preparation of all National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs) on Iran from 2000 to 2005 in his role as national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia, and told the InterPress Service that all of the NIEs on Iran during that period "addressed the Iranian fears of U.S. attack explicitly and related their desire for nuclear weapons to those fears" and furthermore that "Iranian perceptions of threat, especially from the United States and Israel, were not the only factor, but were in our judgment part of what drove whatever effort they were making to build nuclear weapons."

Ellen Laipson, the other ex-CIA official also stated, "the Iranian fear of an attack by the United States has long been a standard element in NIEs [National Intelligence Estimates] on Iran."

Just a few weeks earlier, on January 25, 2006, former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix recommended that the United States give a similar commitment not to attack Iran with either conventional or nuclear weapons, just as it apparently has given to North Korea, stating, "regime changes, we know, from the outside are not that much of a panacea. So I think [the United States] should contemplate similar offers to Iran as they have to North Korea."