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Sunday, November 18, 2007

US and Israel planning for nuclear Iran

After this and this, this should come as no surprise.

London's Sunday Telegraph reports today that the US and Israel are planning for a nuclear Iran. Three factors have caused the two countries to essentially give up on preventing Iran from going nuclear: the dimming prospects for an international consensus on air strikes, the continuing undermining of sanctions by Russia and China and the fact that Iran's nuclear facilities are more dispersed than originally thought.
The revelations come as the United Nations nuclear watchdog has revealed that Iran has stepped up its production of enriched uranium, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad tightens his grip on Teheran's nuclear programme by threatening domestic critics with treason charges.

Pentagon strategists are updating US deterrence policies for a future nuclear-armed Iran, even though — after the terrorist attack on New York and Washington in 2001 — the Bush administration put a policy of pre-emptive military action at the heart of national security policy.

"The more they looked at the intelligence and the information they had, the more pessimistic they have become about what could be achieved on the operational front by military action," said Dan Goure, a Pentagon adviser. "Military strikes might only set the programme back a couple of years, but the current thinking is that it is just not worth the risks." A political rethink has also begun in Israel, where security policy is linked to its status - never publicly admitted - as the region's only nuclear state.

At a security cabinet meeting last weekend, Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, told officials to draw up proposals for dealing with an Iran that had built atomic weapons, according to leaks.

"First, we must make clear that this is a threat not just to Israel, but to the wider world. Second, we must exhaustively consider all preventive options. Third, we must anticipate the possibility of those options not working," said Ami Ayalon, a security cabinet minister, after the meeting.

Israel's air force trains for possible long-range raids, and bombed a suspected nuclear site in Syria recently. But military chiefs face the same intelligence problems as the US as well as refuelling difficulties if they cannot fly over hostile Arab states to reach Iran.

Israel is believed to be equipping a fleet of German-made submarines with atomic weapons ready to respond to any nuclear threat from Teheran, and Ehud Barack, the defence minister, is keen to develop a sophisticated ballistic anti-missile system.
It sounds like the only hope for stopping Iran is toppling the Ahmadinejad government and the Islamist regime. The US - which is in a position to do so - should be supporting whatever opposition (and apparently there is some opposition) exists.


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