In the strongest hint of war in months, a top figure in the US military warns of a series of ‘contingency plans’ in dealing with Iran’s refusal to accept Western demands over its nuclear program.
Head of US Central Command David Petraeus told CNN on Sunday that in addition to crippling sanctions and international diplomacy, Washington is also considering “contingency plans” against Iran’s nuclear installation.
“It would be almost literally irresponsible if CENTCOM were not to have been thinking about the various ‘what ifs’ and to make plans for a whole variety of different contingencies,” said Petraeus in a break from the Obama administration’s oft-stated claims of diplomacy with Tehran.
Washington and a number of European countries say “they have suspicions” about Iran’s nuclear plans, accusing the country of attempting to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran, which is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty unlike some of its regional neighbors, has categorically dismissed the accusations, saying it aims to generate electricity for a growing population.
Under the Bush administration, Washington routinely threatened to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities, but the military plans were largely put on hold when Barack Obama took up the oval office in 2009.
However, investigative journalist Wayne Madsen told Russia Today upon returning from military training facilities in the US that “the contingencies are being set for a potential attack by Washington on Iranian nuclear facilities.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen has also maintained that Washington will keep a military option against Iran as a last resort. Israel has also set the end of the year as a deadline for Iran to abandon nuclear enrichment, while dropping heavy hints of a possible military strike against the country.
The US Office of Naval Intelligence has confirmed in a September assessment that if the United States or Israel decide to bomb Tehran’s nuclear sites, Iran’s naval modernization and maritime capabilities have reached a point where it can shut down the Strait of Hormuz, through which nearly 40 percent of the world’s oil supplies pass.
“Given the importance of the Strait, disrupting traffic flow or even threatening to do so may be an effective tool for Iran,” said the intelligence report, citing Iran’s domestic accomplishments in seafaring technology.
“[World economies would suffer] a serious economic impact from a sustain closure of the Strait of Hormuz due to greatly reduced supplies of crude oil, petroleum supplies and (liquefied natural gas),” it said.