Attack on Iran Uranium Sites Could Take Just ‘Hours’: Israeli Minister

Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 9, 2013, 11:02 a.m.

Des­troy­ing Ir­an’s key urani­um-en­rich­ment fa­cil­it­ies might re­quire only “a few hours of air­strikes,” Yuval Stein­itz, Is­raeli min­is­ter for in­ter­na­tion­al af­fairs, strategy and in­tel­li­gence, told the Wash­ing­ton Post for a Wed­nes­day re­port.

Stein­itz offered the com­ment as he urged the United States to de­mand that Ir­an halt its urani­um re­fine­ment ef­fort or “see it des­troyed with brute force.” The po­ten­tial for the pro­cess to gen­er­ate nuc­le­ar-bomb fuel has placed the fa­cil­it­ies at the cen­ter of an in­ter­na­tion­al dis­pute, but Tehran de­fends its atom­ic activ­it­ies as strictly peace­ful en­deavors that it is leg­ally en­titled to pur­sue.

Ir­an might launch “sev­er­al hun­dred mis­siles” against Is­rael in re­sponse to any air­strikes, Stein­itz ac­know­ledged, but said any such vol­leys would in­flict “very little dam­age be­cause we can in­ter­cept many of them.”

The Is­raeli min­is­ter’s as­ser­tions fol­lowed warn­ings that des­troy­ing pos­sibly weapon-re­lated Ir­a­ni­an nuc­le­ar fa­cil­it­ies — which in­clude a num­ber of oth­er sites — would be a soph­ist­ic­ated un­der­tak­ing. In one case, a U.S. gen­er­al de­clared such an of­fens­ive would re­quire days or weeks of sus­tained bomb­ing.

Sep­ar­ately, Lon­don’s Guard­i­an news­pa­per on Thursday pub­lished a state­ment at­trib­uted to 55 im­prisoned Ir­a­ni­an dis­sid­ents that urges the United States to lift nuc­le­ar pen­al­ties on the coun­try hold­ing them cap­tive.

Else­where, the head of a Rus­si­an state-run atom­ic en­ergy firm said it is get­ting ready to hand Tehran full con­trol of a nuc­le­ar power plant near the Ir­a­ni­an town of Bushehr, Ra­dio Free Europe/Ra­dio Liberty re­por­ted. The fa­cil­ity “is cur­rently op­er­at­ing at 100 per­cent ca­pa­city,” Ros­atom chief Sergei Kir­i­y­en­ko ad­ded.

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