WASHINGTON - The US government is planning to launch a diplomatic blitz on Monday regarding the Iranian nuclear issue at the United Nations headquarters in New York, where heads of states and foreign ministers have convened for the general assembly session.
The United States will work to realize the promises made by Russia and China to agree to impose moderate sanctions on Tehran, following its refusal to meet the Security Council ultimatum, which expired at the end of August.
A senior source at the State Department declared over the weekend that Washington was interested in solving the crisis diplomatically, but admitted that his country had no clue what Iran was thinking.
According to the senior source, the government is convinced that Tehran has also failed to make a decision on the issue so far.
And while the US is exerting diplomatic pressure, the Pentagon is preparing for a possibility that US President George W. Bush will eventually instruct the army to attack Iran.
Time Magazine published details regarding a possible attack, based on talks with military sources.
According to the magazine, no one in Washington is talking about a ground invasion of Iran, as was carried out in Iraq or Afghanistan. According to the report, the American goal in case of an offensive will be to delay the Iranian nuclear plan, an operation which can be carried out from the air.
The attack, the Time says, will be limited to the nuclear facilities in Iran and will be aimed at 18 to 30 different facilities connected to the nuclear program. The sites are spread across the country, some of them exposed, some operating under the guise of regular plants, and others buried deep under the ground.
Sources in the Pentagon told the magazine that among the sites the Americans are familiar with are 1,500 targets for an attack. In other words, the military offensive requires activating nearly all types of planes in the army's possession: Warplanes and stealth vehicles, F-15 and F-16 aircrafts taking off from the land and an F-18 which takes off from an aircraft carrier.
Such an attack requires using satellite-guided weapons and laser-guided ammunition, as well as spy planes and unmanned aerial vehicles. Since many targets are hidden underground and are reinforced with armed concrete, they will have to be hit once and again in order to guarantee that they are destroyed, or at least severely damaged.
Submarines and American battleships will be able to launch cruise missiles, but the Time says that the warheads in this case are small and are not enough to cause damage to the concrete. Therefore, they will be used for other targets.
An American attack in Iran may take a few days, with hundreds and maybe thousands of sorties. According to the report, it will help in delaying the Iranian nuclear program by two to the three years.