US Study: Iran Strike No Easy Task

A02390683.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- An analysis suggests Iranian mining in the Strait of Hormuz would be much more difficult for the US military to overcome than it admits.

Clearing the Strait of Iranian mines could be much more time-consuming than the US military acknowledges, Bloomerberg reported, citing an article in International Security, a journal published by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

A lengthy mine deactivation process at the point of passage of one-fifth of the world’s oil could upset energy markets and present the risk of a full war, said the analysis.

“…the notion that US operations in response to any Iranian action would be short and simple is wrong,” defense analyst Caitlin Talmadge, a doctoral candidate in political science at MIT, wrote in the article.

“If Iran is able to lay even a small number of mines, we have problems,” said Talmadge, predicting that the country would be able to plant around 700 mines before US detection.

She added that the US would be forced to launch a sustained air and naval campaign to locate and take out Iran’s land-based radar and cruise missiles as well as its small boats that are able to attack US and allied mine-clearance vessels.

“It could take many weeks, even months to restore the full flow of commerce and more time still for the oil markets to be convinced that stability has returned,” she wrote.

According to Talmadge, as a result the passage would be more dangerous, triggering “a significant rise in oil prices”.

“(Talmadge) is right on her main points… the most serious threats are missiles first, mines and small boats – in that order… Iran doesn’t have to close the Strait to hurt the US,” defense analyst Harold Lee Wise said in his comments about the article.

Iranian military officials have warned to close the Strait at the entry point to the Persian Gulf if Israel or the US launches an attack against the country.

Israel and its close ally the United States accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations. Both Washington and Tel Aviv possess advanced weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads.

Iran vehemently denies the charges, insisting that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

Speculation that Israel could bomb Iran has mounted since a big Israeli air drill in June. In the first week of June, 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters reportedly took part in an exercise over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece, which was interpreted as a dress rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear installations.

Iran has, in return, warned that it would target Israel and its worldwide interests in case it comes under attack by the Tel Aviv.

The United States has also always stressed that military action is a main option for the White House to deter Iran’s progress in the field of nuclear technology.

Iran has warned it could close the strategic Strait of Hormoz if it became the target of a military attack over its nuclear program.

Strait of Hormoz, the entrance to the strategic Persian Gulf waterway, is a major oil shipping route.

Intensified threats by Tel Aviv and Washington of military action against Iran contradict a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies which endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s nuclear plans and activities.

Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head – one in November and the other one in February – which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions or launch military attack on Iran seems to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran’s cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran’s nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

The UN nuclear watchdog has also carried out at least 14 surprise inspections of Iran’s nuclear sites so far, but found nothing to support West’s allegations.

Following the said reports by the US and international bodies, many world states have called the UN Security Council pressure against Tehran unjustified, demanding that Iran’s case be normalized and returned from the UNSC to the IAEA.

Meantime, a recent study by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a prestigious American think tank, has also found that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities “is unlikely” to delay the country’s program.

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