US Picks Military Targets for Air Strikes against Iran

Article excerpt

THE US has drawn up plans for air strikes on Iran that extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country's military structure, it has been revealed.

It is thought 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.

But diplomatic sources have said that, as a fallback , senior officials at Central Command in Florida have already selected their targets. The list includes Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. Facilities at Isfahan, Arak and Bushehr are also on the target list, sources told the BBC.

The trigger for such an attack reportedly includes any confirmation that Iran was developing a nuclear weapon - which it denies. A high-casualty attack on US forces in neighbouring Iraq could also trigger a bombing campaign if it were traced directly back to Tehran.

Details of the US plans emerged as the UN nuclear watchdog warned that Iran could be just six months from acquiring the ability to enrich industrial-scale uranium - a key step in building a nuclear bomb.

Mohamed ElBaradei, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he expected Tehran would ignore a UN deadline to suspend enrichment work by tomorrow.

Mr ElBaradei acknowledged that Iran could install an industrial- scale uranium enrichment facility with the 3,000 centrifuges needed to begin producing fissile material within months. …