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WAR WITH IRAN LOOMS
Massive Sale of Special Bombs Prepares Israel

"This is not the sort of ordnance needed for
the Palestinian front. Bunker busters could
serve Israel against Iran, or possibly Syria."

MIDDLEEAST.ORG- MER - MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 22Sept:
     In just a few weeks, after the U.S. election, focus will quickly shift first to the 'elections' in Iraq, and then to war with Iran and possibly North Korea as well. The Americans are troop depleted, that's true; and a further reserves call-up and limited draft may well be ahead. But the Americans rely not nearly so much on 'boots on the ground' as in the past but rather on vastly superior technology and airpower. After their experience in Iraq the Americans are not going to be occupying with ground troops countries like Iran and North Korea -- though Syria is another story. Rather they are going to be using their space-age air power and massive precision-bombing capabilities -- now considerably tested in recent years in Eastern Europe and the Middle East -- to destroy the weapons infrastructure of countries they and Israel deem potentially threatening. Then they will attempt to implant successor regimes closely tied to and controlled by the CIA whenever possible, or leave the de-fanged countries on their own while continually warning any and all not to dare challenge the power of the Empire.

The new massive arms sale of 'bunker busting' bombs to Israel has two major purposes at this point in addition to furthering the Bush/Cheney election campaign -- to prepare for real war with Iran sooner rather than later, while at the same time attempting to further intimidate one more time those in Tehran to 'comply, resistance is futile'.






Eyeing Iran Reactors, Israel Seeks U.S. Bunker Bombs
By Dan Williams

JERUSALEM (Reuters - 21 Sept) - The United States plans to sell Israel $319 million worth of air-launched bombs, including 500 "bunker busters" able to penetrate Iran's underground nuclear facilities, Israeli security sources said on Tuesday.


Bunker Busting Bombs


The Haaretz newspaper quoted a Pentagon report as saying the planned procurement sought "to maintain Israel's qualitative advantage and advance U.S. strategic and tactical interests."

The U.S. embassy in Israel had no comment, referring queries to Washington. Israel's Defense Ministry also declined comment.

But a senior Israeli security source who confirmed the Haaretz story told Reuters: "This is not the sort of ordnance needed for the Palestinian front. Bunker busters could serve Israel against Iran, or possibly Syria."

Haaretz quoted Israeli government sources as saying the sale, including 4,500 other guided munitions, was not expected to go through until after the U.S. elections in November. Earlier this month, Haaretz said Israel sought to obtain the U.S.-made, one-ton "bunker buster" bombs for a possible future strike against arch-foe Iran's atomic development program, which the Jewish state considers a strategic threat.

"This relationship has a long history. The United States has given Israel more advanced weapons than this," a spokesman for Iran's Defense Ministry said.

"This could be psychological warfare to test us," he added.

Tehran denies hostile designs, saying its nuclear program has peaceful purposes only. This week, it rejected international calls to comply with a U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency demand that it halt all uranium-enrichment activities.

Among the nuclear facilities that Iran has declared are uranium mines near the city of Yazd, and a uranium-enrichment plant in Natanz incorporating large underground buildings that could accommodate thousands of gas centrifuges.

Western diplomats accuse Iran of having several undeclared facilities close to Tehran thought to be related to uranium enrichment, a process the United States and some other countries believe Tehran will use to produce fissile material for weapons.

The exiled Iranian opposition group known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) says Iran is constructing numerous secret facilities under its Defense Ministry.

DIPLOMACY STILL SEEN AS PREFERABLE

Known by the military designations GBU-27 or GBU-28, "bunker busters" are guided by lasers or satellites and can penetrate up to 30 feet of earth and concrete. Israel may already have some of the bombs for its U.S.-supplied F-15 fighter jets.

"As they are part of the weapon set for the F-15, I would assume them to be in place," said Robert Hewson, editor of Jane's Air-Launched Weapons. He said the bombs proved effective in the 1991 Gulf war and 1990s NATO strikes on Serbian forces.

Israel, which is widely assumed to be the Middle East's only nuclear-armed nation, wants to stop Iran going atomic, but officials say diplomatic pressure on Tehran is the best method.

Many believe a military strike, especially by Israel, could kill off any chance of a diplomatic resolution or efforts by Iranian opposition groups to achieve internal reform.

"I think (military action) should be a last, last, last resort. Unlike Iraq and North Korea, there is at least some chance of bringing about an undermining of the Velayat-e Faqih's authority," former CIA director R. James Woolsey told Reuters this month, referring to Iran's ruling Islamic clerics.

Convinced Saddam Hussein was developing nuclear weapons, Israel bombed Iraq's Osiraq reactor in 1981. While the move drew international censure, eventually many U.S. experts saw it as an important blow to Saddam's strategic weapons capabilities.

"The response of the United States was, unfortunately, negative with respect to Osiraq," Woolsey said. "The Israelis were right and everybody else was wrong, including us, in 1981."

The Osiraq strike did not stop Saddam's quest for the bomb. Instead, Iraq went underground and worked in secret until the program was uncovered by the U.N. nuclear watchdog in 1991.





Iran Converts Uranium in Defiance of UN

By Francois Murphy

VIENNA (Reuters - 21 Sept) - Iran defied the United Nations on Tuesday by announcing it has begun converting a large amount of raw uranium to prepare it for enrichment, a process that can be used to develop atomic bombs.

The announcement was likely to provoke an angry reaction from Washington and increase suspicion in Israel, which plans to buy 500 "bunker buster" bombs from the United States that could take out Iran's underground atomic facilities.

Gholamreza Aghazadeh, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, told reporters Iran had begun converting 37 tonnes of raw "yellowcake" uranium to process it for use in nuclear centrifuges -- the machines that enrich uranium.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, adopted a resolution on Saturday calling on Iran to suspend all activities related to uranium enrichment. The United States, Russia and the European Union reinforced the message on Monday by urging Tehran to comply.

"Some of the amount of the 37 tonnes has been used. The tests have been successful but these tests have to be continued using the rest of the material," said Aghazadeh, one of Iran's vice presidents, who is attending a general conference of the Vienna-based IAEA.

One nuclear expert has said that once converted from yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride, the feed material for enrichment centrifuges, Iran would eventually be able to enrich enough uranium for up to five nuclear weapons.

The IAEA is aware of Iran's plan to convert the uranium for the enrichment process and said it would monitor the tests.

"IAEA (chief) Mohamed ElBaradei continues to call on Iran, as did the board, to suspend such a test as part of their confidence building measures," spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said.

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said Iran was determined to press ahead with its atomic program even if it brought an end to U.N. checks of the Islamic Republic's nuclear sites.

"We are determined to obtain peaceful atomic technology even if it causes the stop of international supervision," he said.

BROKEN PROMISES

They (Iran) have a continuous record of making and then breaking promises, both to the board as well as to others," a State Department official said in New York, where Secretary of State Colin Powell is attending the U.N. General Assembly.

"This is the pattern of a country that has not made the strategic decision to give up its nuclear weapons program."

Iran had promised Britain, France and Germany last October it would freeze all activities related to uranium enrichment.

But Tehran angered the EU's "big three" by announcing earlier this year that the production of feed material for centrifuges would not be included in the freeze.

The resolution said the IAEA board would consider whether "further steps" would be necessary if Iran failed to implement the suspension -- which diplomats said would mean a referral to the U.N. Security Council and possibly economic sanctions.

The United States and some other nations believe Tehran intends to use fissile material for weapons. Iran denies that and says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

Israel has made clear it will never permit Iran, which does not recognize the right of the Jewish state to exist, to become a nuclear power.

Diplomats and analysts say Israel would prefer diplomacy to war and a coalition if military action were needed against Iran, but is ready to act alone if needed.

In June, the Pentagon said it was considering the sale to Israel of 500 BLU-109 bombs, designed to destroy reinforced targets, as part of a munitions package meant "to contribute significantly to U.S. strategic and tactical objectives."

Israeli security sources said the sale would go through and one told Reuters: "This is not the sort of ordnance needed for the Palestinian front. Bunker busters could serve Israel against Iran, or possibly Syria."

(Additional reporting by Dan Williams in Jerusalem, Parisa Hafezi in Tehran, Louis Charbonneau in Vienna and Arshad Mohammed in New York)



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