The US military is drawing plans for a potential “comprehensive attack” against Iran as President Barack Obama has threatened to “act militarily” if Tehran violates the recent nuclear agreement, says a report.
A possible military action would involve a wave of attacks spearheaded by the 30,000-pound bunker buster known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, according to two senior US military officers familiar with the planning, who spoke to USA Today on condition of anonymity.
The attack would be aimed at targeting Iran’s “air defenses” and its “deeply buried nuclear facilities,” one officer said.
The officer further noted that the military plan would provide a "moderate confidence level" that Iran’s nuclear program would be set back by as much as two years.
In case of an attack, the second planning officer said, the US would launch public diplomatic overtures to allies in the region asking access to military bases and port facilities for American forces.
The US would also deploy long-range Patriot missiles to counter enemy missiles and protect bases and other facilities in the region, the officer added.
A US attack would spawn retaliatory attacks by Iran, including attempts to “choke off shipping” in the Persian Gulf, the two officers noted.
Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow and military expert at the Brookings Institution, acknowledged that a US air campaign involving as many as 1,000 aircraft sorties would not “permanently eliminate” Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, according to the report.
In a letter to congressional Democrats last week, President Obama reassured the skeptical lawmakers that the military option against Iran will remain on the table for many years to come, despite the Vienna agreement.
“Should Iran seek to dash toward a nuclear weapon, all of the options available to the United States — including the military option — will remain available through the life of the deal and beyond,” Obama wrote, according to The New York Times.
Congress is reviewing the Iran nuclear agreement and is expected to vote on it in September.
Republicans almost unanimously oppose the nuclear pact, but they need a two-thirds vote in both chambers of Congress to override a presidential veto, and to reach that threshold, Republicans need Democratic support.
The United States, Israel and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear program. Tehran categorically denies the accusation, insisting its program is entirely for peaceful purposes.