Ryab Nadel / The Jerusalem Post & MSNBC and NBC News – 2006-09-21 09:00:17
Expert: Tactical Nukes Needed to Blast Iranian Defenses
Ryab Nadel / The Jerusalem Post
TEL AVIV (Sep. 19, 2006) — Tactical nuclear weapons would be required to penetrate the defenses Iran has constructed around its nuclear facilities, according to Col. (res.) Shlomo Mofaz, an international consultant on terrorism and intelligence and a research fellow at the Institute of Counterterrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.
Mofaz argued that any preemptive action — not necessarily launched by Israel — against Iran’s nuclear facilities would need to employ tactical nuclear weapons.
“The Iranians have invested a lot of money to hide their weapons and infrastructure underground. The most sensitive items are below the surface,” he said.
“American experts have said they are not sure that conventional weapons would be able to infiltrate these sites,” he said. “Based on information from public sources, any attack should use tactical nuclear weapons.”
As reported in Time magazine on Monday, a recent Pentagon report outlining US military options to the Iranian threat mentions the difficulty of locating all targets. It also states that Iran’s reinforced facilities constitute a strategic challenge to any military action. The report suggests that repeated air strikes using laser and satellite guided missiles would be necessary.
Mofaz added that the Iranians have studied US and Israeli techniques for destroying infrastructure and weapons stores, and therefore have built these bunkers as a response.
As the UN Security Council begins the process of bringing potential sanctions against Iran to a vote, Mofaz stressed that the Iranian strategy in relation to the UN was one of foot-dragging, an attempt to buy time while the nuclear drive advances.
“The Iranian administration is gaining more time to push forward to finish its program,” said Mofaz, adding that the sanction moves had come too late.
According to Mofaz, there are two essential aspects to an Israeli response to the threat from Iran: The need to deploy the Arrow antimissile system — which would be effective only if Teheran were to employ a small number of missiles, but not against larger volleys — and to develop a second-strike capability.
“Second-strike capabilities are based on the assumption that Israel has nuclear weapons,” he noted, “something which has not been confirmed by the Israeli government.”
Regarding a preemptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, Mofaz said that according to the principles of the IDF, as first set out by David Ben-Gurion, “Israel must have full capability to defend itself; there must be a program and plan to deal with the Iranian threat… The IDF needs to have the capability to eliminate this threat.”
Mofaz warned, however, that both the appropriate timing for such a strike and whether the IDF was capable of destroying Iran’s nuclear program were unknown.
“The difficulty of such a strike stems from the possibility that there are many unidentified nuclear development sites and the limited usefulness of conventional air strikes against nuclear facilities,” he said.
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Iran’s President Says Bush Pushing for War
In NBC interview, Ahmadinejad claims US still stuck in Cold War mindset
MSNBC and NBC News
(September 19, 2006) — President Bush’s policies in the Middle East are “moving the world toward war,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday, maintaining that Iran was a peaceful nation that merely wanted to be left alone to “stand on its [own] feet.”
“The US government thinks that it’s still the period after World War II,” Ahmadinejad said in an interview with Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News,” a mindset that led Bush to believe that he “can rule, therefore, over the rest of the world.”
But “the world has changed,” he said. “Nations are awakened now. They want their rights ˜ equal rights, and fair ones. The time for world empires has ended.”
The diplomatic confrontation between Washington and Tehran dominated Tuesday’s session of the United Nations, which was to hear from both presidents.
Ahmadinejad, who was to address the United Nations later in the day, did not attend Bush’s address Tuesday afternoon. Bush likewise avoided seeing Ahmadinejad during his New York visit, in line with the U.S. policy not to engage with the Iranian government until Tehran abandoned its attempts to enrich uranium, which Washington believes is the first step toward Iran’s development of a nuclear weapon.
“Why is the US government so against our people?” Ahmadinejad, speaking through a translator, asked in the interview with NBC News. “They speak of war so easily, as if it’s on their daily agenda. We never speak of war.”
Nuclear program called peaceful
Ahmadinejad reiterated that Tehran’s uranium enrichment was intended to support a peaceful nuclear power program.
“We are against the atomic bomb,” he said. “We believe bombs are used only to kill people. And we are against killing people.”
And he accused Bush of hiding behind the nuclear issue to mask the U.S. government’s grudge for the overthrow of the shah in 1979.
“We all know that Iran’s nuclear issue is an excuse,” he said. “It’s been 27 years now that we’ve faced the hostility of the U.S. administration in various forms.”
“We thought we might be able to have friendly relations with the United States,” he added. “But the American government chose the wrong path, a path which is still continuing.”
Referring to America’s own nuclear arsenal, Ahmadinejad said, “We think that people who produce the atomic bomb cannot, in fact, speak of supporting world peace.”
Ahmadinejad calls U.S. leaders hypocrites
Ahmadinejad portrayed himself as a simple man who was plucked from the obscurity of academia to face the might of an American monolith. And he repeatedly accused the United States of hypocrisy in calling for other nations to dismantle their weapons while it maintained the largest military arsenal in the world.
“Again, I ask, who has the nuclear bomb and has used it before?” he asked. “Which one is a bigger danger? One that’s trying to develop a fuel for peaceful purposes? Or the one that made a nuclear weapon?”
Ahmadinejad said Iran was being bullied by Washington. Saying Iranians simply wanted to live in peace, he laid the blame for all of the world’s wars in the 20th century on non-Islamic regimes.
“Just look at the 20th century, for example, and the wars waged in that century,” he said. “Over 100 million people were killed. Hundreds of millions more were displaced. Who created those wars?
“Those who were killed exceed the number [of] the individuals who were killed in previous centuries combined. Where do the first and second world wars occur? Who started it?” he asked.
At the same time, Ahmadinejad accepted a statement of regret from Pope Benedict XVI, whom many Islamic leaders accused of fomenting religious hatred when he quoted a medieval text that characterized Islam as a religion “spread by the sword.”
“I think that the people who give political advice to the pope were not well informed,” Ahmadinejad said. “… I think that he actually takes back his statement, and there is no problem. He should be careful that those who want war do not take advantage of his statements and use it for their own causes.”
MSNBC.com’s Alex Johnson with NBC News‚ Brian Williams in New York.
© 2006 MSNBC Interactive
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