January 07, 2007

Saber Rattling

From Fox News: Report: Israel Planning, Training for Low-Level Nuke Strike Against Iran.

Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons, according to a report in the Sunday Times of London.

The paper cites several Israeli military sources saying that two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters.”

The Israeli Foreign Ministry denied the report.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said it would not respond to the story. ...

According to the Sunday Times, under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.

“As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” said one of the sources.

The plans, disclosed to The Sunday Times last week, have been prompted in part by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad’s assessment that Iran is on the verge of producing enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons within two years.

Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes may no longer be enough to annihilate increasingly well-defended enrichment facilities. Several have been built beneath at least 70 feet of concrete and rock.

However, the nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would be used only if a conventional attack was ruled out and if the United States declined to intervene, senior sources said.

From Ynet News: Iranian official: If threatened, we will use nuclear weapons.

Iran's chief nuclear envoy Ali Larijani said on Friday that Iran is committed to the peaceful use of nuclear technology but warned the situation could change if his country is threatened.

"We oppose obtaining nuclear weapons and we will peacefully use nuclear technology under the framework of the Nonproliferation Treaty, but if we are threatened, the situation may change," He told a news conference after two days of talks in Beijing.

Iran's nuclear chief said his country has produced and stored 250 tons of the gas used as the feedstock for uranium enrichment, state-run television reported Friday.

Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh, who is also the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said Iran has kept the uranium hexaflouride gas, or UF-6, in underground tunnels at a nuclear facility in Isfahan to protect it from any possible attack.

UPDATE -- Jan. 9: At Israel Matzav, some questions raised about the writer who broke this story (via Soccer Dad). I guess we can only hope that Israel has such a plan.

Posted by Forkum at January 7, 2007 05:09 PM