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News number: 8708051520

17:37 | 2008-10-26

Defence

نسخه چاپي ارسال به دوستان

Experts: Israel Lacks Capability to Hit Iran's N. Facilities

TEHRAN (FNA)- Western intelligence officials said that the Israeli regime is unable to destroy Tehran's nuclear facilities using just conventional weapons.



Western intelligence experts believe that Iran's nuclear facilities are so deep underground that it would be difficult for Israel to wipe them out, or even significantly damage them with an air strike, according to an article which will be published by American weekly Newsweek next Monday.

The magazine's Periscope section quotes a "Western official" as saying that in order to seriously setback Iran's nuclear program, at least four of its key development sites would have to be hit, but they are located in tunnels fortified by barriers more than 60 feet thick.

According to the official and other US experts, Israel simply does not possess conventional weapons capable of decommissioning these facilities, since breaking through the thick shell would require, at minimum, several bunker-buster bombs striking precisely the same spot.

Former UN nuclear expert David Albright told the magazine that "these targets would be very hard to destroy."

The report also states that theoretically, Israel could do a lot more damage with a nuclear strike, although US and other Western experts claim there is no reason to believe that Israel will use nuclear weapons.

Speculation that Israel could bomb Iran has mounted since a big Israeli air drill in June. In the first week of June, 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters reportedly took part in an exercise over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece, which was interpreted as a dress rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear installations.

Iran has, in return, warned that it would target Israel and its worldwide interests in case it comes under attack by the Tel Aviv.

The United States has also always stressed that military action is a main option for the White House to deter Iran's progress in the field of nuclear technology.

Iran has warned it could close the strategic Strait of Hormoz if it became the target of a military attack over its nuclear program.

Strait of Hormoz, the entrance to the strategic Persian Gulf waterway, is a major oil shipping route.

Israel and its close ally the United States accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations. Both Washington and Tel Aviv possess advanced weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads.

Iran vehemently denies the charges, insisting that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

Intensified threats by Tel Aviv and Washington of military action against Iran contradict a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies which endorsed the civilian nature of Iran's nuclear plans and activities.

Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head - one in November and the other one in February - which praised Iran's truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions or launch military attack on Iran seems to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran's cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran's nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

The UN nuclear watchdog has also carried out at least 14 surprise inspections of Iran's nuclear sites so far, but found nothing to support West's allegations.

Following the said reports by the US and international bodies, many world states have called the UN Security Council pressure against Tehran unjustified, demanding that Iran's case be normalized and returned from the UNSC to the IAEA.

Meantime, a recent study by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a prestigious American think tank, has found that a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities "is unlikely" to delay the country's program.