Hundreds of powerful US “bunker-buster” bombs are being shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean ahead of a possible attack on Iran, The Herald reported Wednesday.
The Scottish newspaper said the American government signed a contract in January to transport 10 ammunition containers to the island. According to a cargo manifest from the US navy, this included 387 “Blu” bombs used for blasting hardened or underground structures, The Herald reported.
The report quoted experts as saying that the bombs are being put in place for an assault on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
According to the newspaper, although Diego Garcia is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, it is used by the US as a military base under an agreement made in 1971.
The report said Superior Maritime Services, a shipping company based in Florida, , will be paid $699,500 to transport many thousands of military items from Concord, California, to Diego Garcia.
The cargo includes 195 smart, guided, Blu-110 bombs and 192 massive 2000lb Blu-117 bombs, said The Herald.
Dan Plesch, director of the Center for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London and co-author of a recent study on US preparations for an attack on Iran was quoted by the Scottish newspaper as saying, “They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran. US bombers are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours."
According to Plesch, US President Barack Obama may decide that it would be better for the US to act instead of Israel.
“The US is not publicizing the scale of these preparations to deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely,” he was quoted by The Herald as saying. “The US ... is using its forces as part of an overall strategy of shaping Iran’s actions.”
According to The Herald, the British Ministry of Defense has said in the past that the US would need permission to use Diego Garcia for any attack. It has already been used for strikes against Iraq during the 1991 and 2003 Gulf wars.
The report said about 50 British military staff are stationed on the island, with more than 3,200 US personnel. Part of the Chagos Archipelago, it lies about 1,000 miles from the southern coasts of India and Sri Lanka, well placed for missions to Iran.