A senior US official stated late Wednesday that Washington was preparing plans to attack nuclear sites in Iran, according to a Bloomberg report.
The news agency quoted US Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz as saying that Washington’s Joint Chiefs of Staff were drawing up battle plans for a military strike, to be carried out in the event that Iran fails to disprove suspicions about the nature of its nuclear program. “What we can do, you wouldn’t want to be in the area,” Schwartz was quoted as saying.
Most of the West believes Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, while Tehran maintains its nuclear program is for energy.
According to the report, the options under consideration were aerial refueling for Israeli planes and attacks on the regime in Tehran, concentrating on the Revolutionary Guard Corps, Quds Force, army bases and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security. Pentagon sources said plans were currently being prepared.
“There’s no group in America more determined to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon than the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Joint Chiefs Chairman Army General Martin Dempsey was quoted as saying.
Bloomberg quoted another US official, Republican Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, as saying that it was important not just to talk about a military option, but also to demonstrate that it could be carried out. “Because there is uncertainty about the administration’s will to act in the Israelis’ minds, and more importantly in the Iranians’ minds, it’s very important that we don’t just say that all options are on the table, but also show that they are, by some overt means,” Rogers was reported to have said.
The report comes ahead of a visit to Washington by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next week.
No access to Parchin
Also on Wednesday, Iranian Nuclear Energy Organization chief Fereydoon Abbasi Davani stated that “no nuclear activity whatsoever” had occurred at the Parchin military complex, to which IAEA inspectors were refused access on both recent visits to Iran, according to a Reuters report.
IAEA Inspectors said Wednesday that aerial photographs showed unspecified “activity” at Parchin, making the need for a visit even more urgent, Reuters reported.
In a 13-page summary late last year, the IAEA listed clandestine activities that it said can either be used in civilian or military nuclear programs, or “are specific to nuclear weapons.” Among these were indications that Iran has conducted high-explosives testing to set off a nuclear charge at Parchin.
A new tactic: starvation
While Israel and the West are hashing over whether sanctions or a strike on Iran can help set back the nuclear program, some Israeli officials said Wednesday that the world should follow the North Korea model and starve Tehran into submission, Ynet reported.
“North Korea is halting its nuclear program in order to receive aid in food, and this is what should be done with Iran as well,” one official was quoted as saying on condition of anonymity. “Suffocating sanctions could lead to a grave economic situation in Iran and to a shortage of food… this would force the regime to consider whether the nuclear adventure is worthwhile.”