US Dismisses Iran Attack Claims


Richard Moore

US dismisses Iran attack claims
The US has rejected suggestions that it might be preparing to use 
nuclear weapons against targets in Iran.
A report in The New Yorker magazine said the US was increasing 
planning for a possible air attack on Iranian nuclear facilities.
It said one option being considered was a tactical nuclear strike 
against underground nuclear sites.
Dan Bartlett, a senior adviser to President George W Bush, said the 
report was "ill-informed".
Those who drew definitive conclusions based on normal defence and 
intelligence planning "are not knowledgeable of the administration's 
thinking on Iran", he said.
The US has previously refused to rule out military action, but Mr 
Bartlett said again that the US was committed to a diplomatic 
solution on the issue of Iran's nuclear development.

Some people are afraid the president will want to go - just as he 
wanted to go on Iraq
Seymour Hersh
UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said talk of a US nuclear strike was 
"completely nuts".
Iran has branded the reports as a "psychological war launched by 
Americans because they feel angry and desperate regarding Iran's 
nuclear dossier".
"We will stand by our right to nuclear technology... Iran is not 
afraid of threatening language," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid 
Reza Asefi said on Sunday.
Western powers fear Iran is developing a nuclear bomb. Iran says its 
nuclear programme is for civilian use.
'World war'
The US magazine article, by journalist Seymour Hersh, makes three main claims:

        *       US clandestine activities inside Iran have increased
        *       Planning for a possible air attack has intensified
        *       The option of using of tactical nuclear weapons to 
ensure the destruction of well-protected Iranian nuclear facilities 
is still on the table.
Mr Hersh also quoted a former senior intelligence official as saying 
that President Bush and others in the White House were referring to 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a potential Adolf Hitler 
threatening another world war.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Hersh said many US allies felt Iran was two 
to 10 years away from developing a nuclear bomb and that the real aim 
was regime change.
"No matter what Iran would do, I think in the short run some people 
are afraid the president will want to go - just as he wanted to go on 
Iraq," he said.
He said he believed the president felt military action against Iran 
was something only he could do. "It's messianic, I quote somebody as 
saying," he said.
Planning for military action had moved beyond the contingency stage 
and into direct operational planning, he added.
Referring to Mr Straw's comments, he said there were questions about 
how much information the US government was sharing with its European 
Retired General Anthony Zinni, the former head of US Central Command, 
said on Sunday any plan to use military force against Iran was risky.

"The Iranians will retaliate, and they have many possibilities in an 
area where there are many vulnerabilities, from our troop positions 
to the oil and gas in the region that can be interrupted, to attacks 
on Israel, to the conduct of terrorism," he told the Associated Press 
news agency.
Talk of military strikes against Iran have been prompted by Iran's 
refusal to halt nuclear work.
Last month, the UN Security Council gave Iran 30 days to halt its 
nuclear research, or run the risk of action such as possible 
Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/04/10 12:00:30 GMT


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