Monday, January 11, 2010

US on Iran Nukes: Diplomacy and/or Bombs

WASHINGTON, Jan 10: A top US military commander responsible for the Middle East and the Gulf region has said the United States has developed contingency plans to deal with Iran’s nuclear facilities, insisting that they “can be bombed”.

“Well, they certainly can be bombed,” Gen David Petraeus, head of US Central Command, told CNN television as he commented on suggestions that Iranian nuclear facilities were heavily fortified.

“The level of effect would vary with who it is that carries it out, what ordnance they have, and what capability they can bring to bear,” he added.

The network has released some excerpts of the interview.

Gen Petraeus did not elaborate on the plans, but he said the military had considered the impact of any action taken there, CNN said. “It would be almost literally irresponsible if Centcom were not to have been thinking about the various ‘what ifs’ and to make plans for a whole variety of different contingencies,” he said.

Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, but the United States and other Western nations fear Tehran wants to acquire nuclear weapons.

Israel has called Iran’s nuclear programme a major threat. Gen Petraeus declined to comment about Israel’s military capabilities, according to CNN.

Gen Petraeus said he thought there was still time for the world powers to engage Iran in diplomacy, noting there was no deadline on the enactment of any US contingency plans, CNN noted. But he added that “there’s a period of time, certainly, before all this might come to a head, if you will.”—AFP

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