Israel has drawn up plans to destroy Iranian uranium enrichment facilities with a tactical nuclear strike, a British newspaper said yesterday in a report.
The Sunday Times quoted several Israeli military sources as saying that two of the country’s air force squadrons are training to use “bunker-busting” bombs for a single strike.
The story is “incorrect,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said. “Israel is 100 percent behind the international community’s efforts to bring about an end to Iran’s nuclear program. Israel totally supports Resolution 1737 and the international community must be ready to take even tougher measures against Iran,” he said.
Citing unidentified Israeli military sources, The Sunday Times said the proposals drawn up in Israel involved using so-called “bunker-buster” nuclear weapons to attack nuclear facilities at three sites south of the Iranian capital.
Israel has never confirmed it has nuclear weapons, although the Jewish state is widely believed to possess a significant stockpile.
Iran says its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes like generating electricity.
The Sunday Times reported that Israeli military officials believed Iran could produce enough enriched uranium to build nuclear weapons within two years, and the newspaper said Israeli pilots had made flights to the British colony of Gibraltar to train for the 2,000-mile round trip to the Iranian targets.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office declined to comment on the report. “We don't respond to publications in The Sunday Times,” said spokeswoman Miri Eisin.
However Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev denied the report, saying: “if diplomacy succeeds, the problem can be solved peaceably.”
The United States and its allies suspect Tehran of secretly trying to produce atomic weapons there.
Some view Israeli officials' occasional implied threats as a means of pressuring the world community to take action, building on the recent United Nations Security Council decision to impose some economic sanctions on Tehran for its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment.
Some analysts viewed Sunday's report as another element of delicate diplomacy, the Guardian reports.
Ephraim Kam, a former senior Israeli intelligence official who is now at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Strategic Studies, also suggested the report should not be taken literally, the AP reports.
"No reliable source would ever speak about this, certainly not to The Sunday Times," he said.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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