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U.S. Plans on Iran
"There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush's ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change," Seymour Hersh writes in the new issue of The New Yorker. He also reports: "One of the military's initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites. ... The Pentagon adviser on the war on terror confirmed that some in the administration were looking seriously at this option, which he linked to a resurgence of interest in tactical nuclear weapons among Pentagon civilians and in policy circles.... He also confirmed that some senior officers and officials were considering resigning over the issue." Full Article
The following analysts are available for interviews:
Sahimi is professor of chemical engineering at the University of Southern California. He co-wrote, with Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, the op-ed "Defusing Iran with Democracy." Sahimi said today: "The Bush administration should not willingly give rise to a potent and volatile mixture of Iranian nationalism, the Shiites' long tradition of martyrdom, and Islamic fundamentalim of Iran's hard-liners. But talk of military strikes on Iran, particularly use of tactical nuclear bombs, will do exactly that. It also strengthens the radicals, and weakens the democratic forces in Iran. In an actual military conflict with Iran, this volatile mixture would respond in a way that might engulf the entire region in fire. There is one and only one solution to Iran's nuclear program, and that is through negotiations."
Cabasso is executive director of the California-based Western States Legal Foundation; Lichterman is the group's program director. Lichterman said today: "If it is true that a significant faction at the top levels of government is seriously contemplating such nuclear weapons use, it should be a matter of the utmost concern -- and should be met with unambiguous condemnation. A 'preventive' war against Iran, a country that has attacked neither us nor its neighbors and shows no imminent signs of doing so, would be illegal, another act manifesting the rejection by the United States of the international legal framework that it played a leading role in constructing after World War II. An unprovoked nuclear attack would be an atrocity of historic proportions, definitively marking the United States as an outlaw state, ruled by criminals deserving of comparison with the most terrible regimes of the past."
Executive director of the New York-based Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy, Burroughs just wrote the piece "Hersh's Bombshell," which states: "The options being considered are for use of nuclear weapons in order to strike targets difficult to destroy by non-nuclear means. In other words, the options are for integration of nuclear use with other military operations as part of the initial attack."
Burroughs also wrote: "As a whole, the [Hersh] article conveys that the administration is prepared to launch an attack should Iran not accede to U.S. demands, above all not to proceed with uranium enrichment activities. But the potential conflict goes beyond that: the administration seems committed to regime change regardless of whether the nuclear issues are capable of resolution (which they probably are, given any willingness to compromise on Washington's part).
"If executed, U.S. military action would apply the Bush doctrine of preventive war in an unprecedented way that would set the template for years or decades of regional and global violence, unrestrained by law."
For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167