US "Iran Attack Plans" Revealed

    BBC News

    Monday 19 February 2007

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Deadline

    Earlier this month US officials said they had evidence Iran was
providing weapons to Iraqi Shia militias. At the time, Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the accusations were "excuses to prolong the stay"
of US forces in Iraq.

    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.

    Last year Iran resumed uranium enrichment - a process that can make fuel
for power stations or, if greatly enriched, material for a nuclear bomb.

    Tehran insists its programme is for civil use only, but Western
countries suspect Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons.

    The UN Security Council has called on Iran must suspend its enrichment
of uranium by 21 February.

    If it does not, and if the International Atomic Energy Agency confirms
this, the resolution says that further economic sanctions will be
considered.