The BBC reports on US plans to attack Iran. The question is whether the excuse would be Iran's nuclear program or its Iraq meddling (thus its scapegoat status to the Bush White House's foreign policy rhetoric).
US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country's military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.If bombing Iran equals persuasion in the US government's book, then we're in bigger trouble. No doubt an attack would only inflame anti-US sentiment in Iran, the Muslim world in general, and, well the world as a whole. Iran is probably looking for a similar deal to the North Korean one. The North Koreans are even more dangerous, say experts.
It is understood that any such attack - if ordered - would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centres.
The US insists it is not planning to attack, and is trying to persuade Tehran to stop uranium enrichment.
The UN has urged Iran to stop the programme or face economic sanctions.
But diplomatic sources have told the BBC that as a fallback plan, senior officials at Central Command in Florida have already selected their target sets inside Iran.
That list includes Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. Facilities at Isfahan, Arak and Bushehr are also on the target list, the sources say.
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says the trigger for such an attack reportedly includes any confirmation that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon - which it denies.
Alternatively, our correspondent adds, a high-casualty attack on US forces in neighbouring Iraq could also trigger a bombing campaign if it were traced directly back to Tehran.
The BBC's Tehran correspondent France Harrison says the news that there are now two possible triggers for an attack is a concern to Iranians.
Authorities insist there is no cause for alarm but ordinary people are now becoming a little worried, she says.
Middle East analysts have recently voiced their fears of catastrophic consequences for any such US attack on Iran.
Britain's previous ambassador to Tehran, Sir Richard Dalton, told the BBC it would backfire badly by probably encouraging the Iranian government to develop a nuclear weapon in the long term.
Iraq is already displeased over the seeming proxy war between the United States and Iran being fought there.
Iranian, as well as American, politics will play a major role in how this all comes out. Both the presidents of the US and Iran, Bush and Ahmadinejad, are not doing so well politically; at home and abroad. Funny enough, their political slumps are for the same reasons: the economy and foreign policy. Ahmadinejad's antagonistic, provocative nuke policy and Bush's cowboy, take-no-prisoners Iraq and 'war on terror' policies has kept each respective ruler busy — too busy to notice their country's economy is going down the tubes.
The Bush administration has already shown its defiance of Congress time and time again. Nonetheless, I doubt the US government has the nerve or power to launch a synchronized, large scale, super attack on Iran. To destroy all its nuclear facilities — many of which are secret and unknown and those known are hard to reach (e.g. in a mountain) — the US would need to kill countless thousands and use bunker-buster missiles, which are nuclear themselves. Overall, it is out of the question.
Assuming the BBC has 'learned' right, the United States' potential Iran attack plan is ludicrous. If attacking is the US's idea of persuasion, we are all in for a bumpy ride.
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