According to the Sunday morning report, the Jewish state could cripple the Islamic Republic's power grid with electromagnetic pulses as part of a concerted attack to halt Iran's military nuclear program, which could "send Iran back to the Stone Age."
The report, by Uzi Mahnaimi, claims that the possible use of such a weapon has been raised in several quarters as a debate rages among Israel’s politicians about whether a swift strike should be launched against Iran's nuclear facilities.
Bill Gertz, a veteran American defense specialist, is quoted as saying that US intelligence agencies have reported “growing concerns that Israel will conduct a strike on Iran using a high-altitude nuclear burst aimed at disrupting all electronics in the country."
The technology behind EMP, which is regarded as non-lethal, has been known for decades, the Sunday Times reports.
An electromagnetic pulse is an intense burst of gamma energy that reacts with the Earth’s magnetic field to produce a powerful current. This sets off a shockwave with the potential to “fry” electronic devices and circuits.
Although the potential of EMP was first noted as a side effect of high-altitude nuclear tests in the 1950s and 1960s, the report says, a pulse can also be produced by non-nuclear means such as a microwave generator.
Such a pulse could knock out the power grid and communications for transport, financial and emergency services.
The newspaper quotes Uzi Rubin, who helped develop Israel’s anti-missile defense shield, as saying that “the use of a nuclear device even for non-lethal use such as EMP is out of the question. There are methods to operate EMP from the ground.”