Military strike 'being planned against Iran'
London, November 4, 2011
Reports were strengthening last night that some governments may be planning a military strike against Tehran’s nuclear programme.
The US and other leading Western governments believe that Iran is intending to develop a nuclear arsenal, and Tehran’s failure to suspend its nuclear activities has already led to several sets of UN sanctions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was yesterday trying to persuade his cabinet to authorise a strike. Israel, which considers Tehran its biggest threat, successfully tested a missile believed capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to Iran.
According to latest media reports, Britain’s armed forces were stepping up contingency planning for potential military action against Iran, amid mounting concern about Tehran’s nuclear enrichment programme.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) believed the US may decide to fast-forward plans for targeted missile strikes at some key Iranian facilities, it added.
The Guardian daily quoting British officials said that if Washington presses ahead it will seek, and receive, UK military help for any mission, despite some deep reservations within the coalition government.
The British military planners of a potential attack are examining where best to deploy Royal Navy ships and submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles over the coming months as part of what would be an air and sea campaign, the report stated.
Meanwhile, Nato secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the group supports political and diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear issue and urged Iran to comply with UN resolutions and stop its uranium enrichment programmes.
He declined to comment on reports that Israeli air force jets conducted drills last week at a Nato air base in Italy.
They were said to be practising long-range sorties from the Decimomannu base on
the Sardinia island and included combat aircraft, aerial refuelling tankers and electronic warfare and control planes.
Later yesterday, Italian defence ministry spokesman Captain Emiliano Biasco confirmed that an exercise involving Israel and other countries was held at Decimomannu late last month.
Meanwhile, Iran yesterday said it was united and ‘ready for war’ with Israel.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was responding to the reports that Israel is planning a military attack against his country.
“We have been hearing threats from Israel for eight years. Our nation is a united nation… such threats are not new to us,” Salehi said.