The Telegraph (UK) -- Monday, February 13, 2006
'10,000 would die' in A-plant attack on Iran
By Thomas Harding
A major American attack on Iran's nuclear sites would kill up to 10,000 people and lead to war in the Middle East, a report says today.
Hundreds of scientists and technicians would be targets in the opening salvos as the attacks focused on eliminating further nuclear development, the Oxford Research Group says in Iran: Consequences of a War.
The research coincides with reports that strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for "a last resort" strike if diplomacy fails. Plans for an assault have taken on "greater urgency" in recent months, The Sunday Telegraph said.
Tacticians at central command and strategic command, who report to Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, have been identifying targets and the weapons needed to hit them.
The Oxford report says that Britain could be drawn into the conflict if the Prime Minister allowed American B2 bombers, which can carry 40,000lb of precision bombs, to use bases at Fairford, Glos, and on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.
Precision bombing could put Iran's weapons programme back five to 10 years but within a month the situation would become "an extremely dangerous conflict", says Prof Paul Rogers, the report's author.
The attack would result in "a protracted military confrontation" involving Israel, Lebanon and some Gulf states.
More than 100 American bombers, many based on carriers in the Gulf, would take part in a huge simultaneous surprise air attack on 20 key nuclear and military facilities, the report says.
If the targets included the nuclear reactor at Bushehr, which will become fully fuelled this year, a radioactive cloud could spread over the Gulf. Iran's small navy, which includes three submarines, would have to be attacked to negate threats to vital shipping lanes in the Straits of Hormuz.
But Iran could still retaliate with suicide speedboats, possibly leading to crippling rises in the price of oil.
Prof Rogers, professor of peace studies at Bradford University, says that American military action would also have a unifying effect on the rule of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and exacerbate anti-American hostility in the Islamic world.
The report says that a ground offensive in Iran would not be feasible, as it would require at least 100,000 troops - and American forces are already over-stretched with 130,000 soldiers in Iraq and 18,000 in Afghanistan.
Iran would probably withdraw from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and speed up its secret nuclear weapons programme.
The report concludes: "A military response to the current crisis is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further. Alternative approaches must be sought, however difficult these may be."
In a similar briefing before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Oxford group predicted that Saddam Hussein's regime could easily be overwhelmed but that the country would become a hotbed of insurgency.
London -- Monday February 13, 2006
Thousands would die in US strikes on Iran, says study
· Report warns of effects of American or Israeli strikes
· Military operations would mean long confrontation
Ewen MacAskill, diplomatic editor
A surprise American or Israeli air strike on Iranian nuclear sites could cause a large number of civilian as well as military casualties, says a report published today.
The report, Iran: Consequences of a War, written by Professor Paul Rogers and published by the Oxford Research Group, draws comparisons with Iraq. It says the civilian population in that country had three weeks to prepare for war in 2003, giving people the chance to flee potentially dangerous sites. But Prof Rogers says attacks on Iranian facilities, most of which are in densely populated areas, would be surprise ones, allowing no time for such evacuations or other precautions.
"Military deaths in this first wave of attacks would be expected to be in the thousands," he says. "Civilian deaths would be in the many hundreds at least, particularly with the requirement to target technical support for the nuclear and missile infrastructure, with many of the factories being located in urban areas."
The death toll would eventually be much higher if Iran took retaliatory action and the United States responded, or if the US took pre-emptive military action in addition to strikes on nuclear sites.
Prof Rogers, of the University of Bradford's peace studies department, says: "A military operation against Iran would not ... be a short-term matter but would set in motion a complex and long-lasting confrontation. It follows that military action should be firmly ruled out and alternative strategies developed."
US and other western critics of Tehran say the government there is intent on securing a nuclear weapons capability. The Iranians deny this, saying they are pursuing civilian nuclear energy. The issue could still be resolved diplomatically, but both the US and Israel have said the option of air strikes remains open.
Prof Rogers says the aim of an attack would be to set back Iran's nuclear programme by at least five years. He says Britain could be drawn in as US aircraft would probably use UK bases.
He lists the expected targets as the Tehran Research Reactor, a radioisotope production facility, a range of nuclear-related laboratories, and the Kalaye Electric Company, all in Tehran, and facilities in Isfahan and Natanz.
"The new reactor nearing completion at Bushehr would be targeted, although this could be problematic once the reactor is fully fuelled and goes critical some time in 2006," he says. "Once that has happened, any destruction of the containment structure could lead to serious problems of radioactive dispersal affecting not just the Gulf coast but west Gulf seaboards in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates."
He adds: "All the initial attacks would be undertaken more-or-less simultaneously, in order to kill as many of the technically competent staff as possible, therefore doing the greatest damage to longer-term prospects."
Iran would be unable to prevent such an attack, as it has only limited air defences. But Prof Rogers says it has a large arsenal of responses. It could:
· withdraw from the Non-Proliferation Treaty and pursue speedy development of nuclear weapons capability;
· encourage retaliatory action against Israel by the Lebanese-based Hizbullah group, which has missiles capable of hitting Haifa and several other Israeli cities;
· close the Strait of Hormuz, one of the main access routes for oil from the Gulf;
· send Iranian paramilitary units into states such as Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates;
· or order Iranian Revolutionary Guards to step up links with insurgents in Iraq.
Prof Rogers says a US or Israeli attack could also help al-Qaida by increasing the anti-US mood in the region and beyond.
Information Clearing House February 13 2006
Original at: The Sunday Telegraph [UK] -- February 12 2006
US prepares military blitz against Iran's nuclear sites
By Philip Sherwell in Washington
Strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran's nuclear sites as a "last resort" to block Teheran's efforts to develop an atomic bomb.
Central Command and Strategic Command planners are identifying targets, assessing weapon-loads and working on logistics for an operation, the Sunday Telegraph has learnt.
They are reporting to the office of Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, as America updates plans for action if the diplomatic offensive fails to thwart the Islamic republic's nuclear bomb ambitions. Teheran claims that it is developing only a civilian energy programme.
"This is more than just the standard military contingency assessment," said a senior Pentagon adviser. "This has taken on much greater urgency in recent months."
The prospect of military action could put Washington at odds with Britain which fears that an attack would spark violence across the Middle East, reprisals in the West and may not cripple Teheran's nuclear programme. But the steady flow of disclosures about Iran's secret nuclear operations and the virulent anti-Israeli threats of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has prompted the fresh assessment of military options by Washington. The most likely strategy would involve aerial bombardment by long-distance B2 bombers, each armed with up to 40,000lb of precision weapons, including the latest bunker-busting devices. They would fly from bases in Missouri with mid-air refuelling.
The Bush administration has recently announced plans to add conventional ballistic missiles to the armoury of its nuclear Trident submarines within the next two years. If ready in time, they would also form part of the plan of attack.
Teheran has dispersed its nuclear plants, burying some deep underground, and has recently increased its air defences, but Pentagon planners believe that the raids could seriously set back Iran's nuclear programme.
Iran was last weekend reported to the United Nations Security Council by the International Atomic Energy Agency for its banned nuclear activities. Teheran reacted by announcing that it would resume full-scale uranium enrichment - producing material that could arm nuclear devices.
The White House says that it wants a diplomatic solution to the stand-off, but President George W Bush has refused to rule out military action and reaffirmed last weekend that Iran's nuclear ambitions "will not be tolerated".
Sen John McCain, the Republican front-runner to succeed Mr Bush in 2008, has advocated military strikes as a last resort. He said recently: "There is only only one thing worse than the United States exercising a military option and that is a nuclear-armed Iran."
Senator Joe Lieberman, a Democrat, has made the same case and Mr Bush is expected to be faced by the decision within two years.
By then, Iran will be close to acquiring the knowledge to make an atomic bomb, although the construction will take longer. The President will not want to be seen as leaving the White House having allowed Iran's ayatollahs to go atomic.
In Teheran yesterday, crowds celebrating the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution chanted "Nuclear technology is our inalienable right" and cheered Mr Ahmadinejad when he said that Iran may reconsider membership of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
He was defiant over possible economic sanctions.
ICH Compiled Statistics in Iraq (February 13 2006)
Number Of Iraqi civilians Slaughtered In America's War 100,000 +
Number of U.S. Military Personnel Slaughtered (Officially acknowledged) In Bush's War 2267
The War in Iraq Costs
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