Israel’s Air & Missile Forces Could Wipe out Iran’s Nuclear Sites
The detailed report compiled by the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in Washington last month, complete with graphs and diagrams, has been reprinted in thousands of copies in Tehran. It is compulsory reading for its intelligence and Revolutionary Guards personnel because the Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Development Facilities concludes that the Jewish state has all the resources necessary for a successful strike.
When asked recently, Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff, agreed with this estimate. This week, president Shimon Peres and prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu both said that if diplomacy failed to halt Iran’s nuclear activities, Israel would be left with no option other than the military one. And Tuesday, April 14, the New York Times quoted an Israeli official as saying that Jerusalem would give the Obama administration until late 2009 to stop Iran’s uranium enrichment projects; after that, Israel will be forced to act.
Tehran responded with a complaint to the UN Security Council demanding that Israel be condemned for “its threats against a sovereign state.”
For the past three years, US military and intelligence sources have used attributed and leaked assessments to the American media to emphasize that such an operation is beyond Israel’s capabilities because of the nuclear facilities’ wide distribution across Iran. At best, they maintained, the Israeli Air Force might knock out a few Iranian nuclear installations, but only enough to put Iran’s nuclear drive temporarily on hold.
The CSIS paper refutes this assessment and maintains there is no need to destroy dozens or hundreds of sites; the destruction of seven to nine targets would be enough to cripple the Iranian program, and lists them as follows:
1. Lashkar A’bad, site of secret uranium enrichment plants in the north near the Turkish border.
2. Tehranb, for the central laboratory for developing atomic armaments as well as more uranium enrichment facilities.
3. Arak, in central Iran, where a heavy water plant is under construction to manufacture plutonium for weapons.
4. Isfahan, in central Iran, near which a small research reactor and a cluster of laboratories for uranium enrichment, centrifuges and weapons development, are situated.
5. Natanz, the main center for uranium enrichment.
6. Ardekan, at the southern tip of Iran, where more uranium enrichment facilities are located.
7. Saghand, Iran’s main uranium mining region.
8. Bushehr, on the Persian Gulf shore, Iran’s biggest nuclear reactor built by Russia.
9. Gachin, near the Strait of Hormuz, the site of more uranium mines and enrichment facilities.
Complicated tables set forth an array of technical details showing how many PG bombs Israeli Air Force F16I or F15F bomber-fighter planes can carry, how much fuel is needed to reach their Iranian targets, and at what stage of their return journey they would need to refuel.
This think tank finds Israel has enough aircraft as well as the necessary intelligence and electronic resources for the task – contrary to previous estimates.
The authors propose three attack routes for a potential Israeli operation against Iran: an eastern route over Saudi Arabia; a central route over Iraq, and a northern route over Turkey, Syria and northern Iraqi Kurdistan. They point to the third as Israel’s best option in view of the superiority of its electronic warfare (EW) capabilities.
This is the first time a detailed and accurate description of these capabilities, and a description of how they were put to use in the Israeli raid on the North Korean-built plutonium reactor in Dar az-Zawr, Syria, on September, 2007, has ever been published.