17:11 Jan 07, '07 / 17 Tevet 5767
by Hana Levi Julian
|The IDF is working on a “Plan B” as a backup in case diplomatic efforts to convince Iran to abandon its nuclear aspirations fail.|
| Israel is not waiting to see if diplomatic efforts by the international community manage to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon, Britain's Sunday Times reports. |
Israel Air Force pilot training programs are in full swing, the paper says, rehearsing scenarios in which they might be required to take military action.
Israel totally denied the report. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said that Israel supports the sanctions against Iran, as well as increased diplomatic efforts to stop Iran.
The Times reports that IDF sources said two IAF squadrons are working on special plans to destroy a key Iranian nuclear facility in Natanz, using low-yield “buster bunkers.” This strategy is used in situations where military installations are located underground, as many of the Hizbullah sites were during the recent war with the terrorists in Lebanon.
A uranium conversion plant in Isfahan is also named in the report as a target, as is a heavy water plant at Arak. Both facilities have been in the news following speeches by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad bragging about the rapid pace of development at the facilities.
The two sites would be hit with conventional bombs in the scenarios under consideration by the IAF.
The United Nations Security Council passed a unanimous vote last month to impose sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt its uranium enrichment project, albeit some five months later than the sanctions were originally threatened. The world body had warned Iran more than eight months ago that it would impose sanctions if the Islamic Republic did not terminate its program by August 31, 2006.
Ahmadinejad's nuclear development program constitutes a key step in the development of nuclear energy and is suspected of being used to develop nuclear weapons in addition to energy for domestic use.
Iran has continued to insist its nuclear development is geared for peaceful domestic use only. However, the international community is skeptical, and has therefore imposed the sanctions.