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US military planners say Iran's underground nuclear sites not 'impregnable'

Washington, Thu, 01 Mar 2012 ANI

Washington, Mar 1(ANI): American military planners have said that Iran's underground nuclear sites are not impregnable and could be conquered with the help of its bunker-busters.


Western spy agencies for years have kept an eye on a rocky peak in northwest Iran that houses of one the world's most unusual nuclear sites.


It is known as Fordow and the facility is built into mountain bunkers designed to withstand an aerial attack. Iran's civil defense chief had declared the site 'impregnable.'


But the American military planners are increasingly confident about their ability to deliver a serious blow against Fordow, should the president ever order an attack, The Washington Post reports.


Yet as a matter of physics, Fordow is far more vulnerable than generally portrayed, said current and former military and intelligence analysts.


Officials have claimed that the recently-added bunker buster known as 'Massive Ordnance Penetrator' in the U.S. arsenal would not necessarily have to penetrate the deepest bunkers to cause severe damage to infrastructure as well as highly sensitive nuclear equipment, probably setting back Iran's program by years.


The weapons' capabilities are likely to be a factor in discussions with a stream of Israeli leaders arriving in Washington over the next week.


U.S. officials acknowledged some uncertainty over whether even the Pentagon's newest bunker-buster weapon could pierce in a single blow the subterranean chambers where Iran is making enriched uranium.


But they said a continuous U.S. attack over multiple days would probably make the plant unfeasible by collapsing tunnels and irreparably damaging both its highly sensitive centrifuge equipment and the miles of pipes, tubes and wires required to operate it.


"Hardened facilities require multiple sorties. The question is, how many turns do you get at the apple?" said a former senior intelligence official who has studied the formerly secret Fordow site and who agreed to discuss sensitive details of U.S. strike capabilities on the condition of anonymity. (ANI)


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