Pentagon Planned Iran Invasion in 2004


Richard Moore,,1754307,00.html

Britain took part in mock Iran invasion

Pentagon planned for Tehran conflict with war game involving UK troops

Julian Borger in Washington and Ewen MacAskill
Saturday April 15, 2006

British officers took part in a US war game aimed at preparing for a 
possible invasion of Iran, despite repeated claims by the foreign 
secretary, Jack Straw, that a military strike against Iran is 

The war game, codenamed Hotspur 2004, took place at the US base of 
Fort Belvoir in Virginia in July 2004.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman played down its significance 
yesterday. "These paper-based exercises are designed to test officers 
to the limit in fictitious scenarios. We use invented countries and 
situations using real maps," he said.

The disclosure of Britain's participation came in the week in which 
the Iranian crisis intensified, with a US report that the White House 
was contemplating a tactical nuclear strike and Tehran defying the 
United Nations security council.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, who sparked outrage in 
the US, Europe and Israel last year by calling for Israel to be wiped 
off the face of the Earth, created more alarm yesterday. He told a 
conference in Tehran in support of the Palestinians: "Like it or not, 
the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation. The Zionist regime 
is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm."

The senior British officers took part in the Iranian war game just 
over a year after the invasion of Iraq. It was focused on the Caspian 
Sea, with an invasion date of 2015. Although the planners said the 
game was based on a fictitious Middle East country called Korona, the 
border corresponded exactly with Iran's and the characteristics of 
the enemy were Iranian.

A British medium-weight brigade operated as part of a US-led force.

The MoD's Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, which helped run 
the war game, described it on its website as the "year's main 
analytical event of the UK-US Future Land Operations Interoperability 
Study" aimed at ensuring that both armies work well together. The 
study "was extremely well received on both sides of the Atlantic".

According to an MoD source, war games covering a variety of scenarios 
are conducted regularly by senior British officers in the UK, the US 
or at Nato headquarters. He cited senior military staff carrying out 
a mock invasion of southern England last week and one of Scotland in 

However, Hotspur took place at a time of accelerated US planning 
after the fall of Baghdad for a possible conflict with Iran. That 
planning is being carried out by US Central Command, responsible for 
the Middle East and central Asia area of operations, and by Strategic 
Command, which carries out long-range bombing and nuclear operations.

William Arkin, a former army intelligence officer who first reported 
on the contingency planning for a possible nuclear strike against 
Iran in his military column for the Washington Post online, said: 
"The United States military is really, really getting ready, building 
war plans and options, studying maps, shifting its thinking."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "The foreign secretary has made his 
position very clear that military action is inconceivable. The 
Foreign Office regards speculation about war, particularly involving 
Britain, as unhelpful at a time when the diplomatic route is still 
being pursued."

After the failure of a mission to Tehran on Thursday by Mohammed 
ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Russia 
announced a diplomatic initiative yesterday. It is to host a new 
round of talks in Moscow on Tuesday with the US, the EU and China.
Guardian Unlimited   Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006

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