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Date Posted: 05:42:18 04/09/06 Sun
Author: Jean
Subject: still think there is'nt a chance that the draft will be back?


Report: U.S. steps up Iran options
Investigative journalist says plans include possible attack

Sunday, April 9, 2006; Posted: 3:20 a.m. EDT (07:20 GMT)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The U.S. administration is stepping up plans for a possible air strike on Iran, despite publicly pushing for a diplomatic solution to a dispute over its nuclear ambitions, according to a report by influential investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.

Hersh's story in the April 17 issue of the New Yorker magazine, mostly citing unidentified current and former officials, says President George W. Bush views Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a "potential Adolf Hitler," and sees "regime change" in Tehran as the ultimate goal.

"This White House believes that the only way to solve the problem is to change the power structure in Iran, and that means war," Hersh quotes an unidentified senior Pentagon adviser on the war on terror as saying.

The White House, without denying the report, reiterated that it was pursuing a diplomatic solution.

"We are not going to discuss military planning," said spokesman Blair Jones.

"The IAEA (The International Atomic Energy Agency) and the UN Security Council have spoken clearly: Iran must return to full and sustained suspension of its enrichment and reprocessing activities."

Iran insists it only wants nuclear technology for power generation. Washington believes Iran is trying to build an atomic bomb and refuses to rule out an attack to deal with what it says is one of the biggest threats to regional stability.

Its attempts to take action against Iran have been frustrated by the reluctance of fellow United Nations Security Council veto-holders Russia and China to consider sanctions.
Nuclear option

Hersh's report says the administration has stepped up clandestine activities in Iran and has initiated a series of talks on its plans with "a few key senators and members of Congress."

A former senior defense official is cited as saying the planning was based on the belief that a bombing campaign against Iran would humiliate the leadership and lead the Iranian public to overthrow it, adding that he was shocked to hear the strategy.

The report also said the administration is seriously considering using "bunker buster" tactical nuclear weapons against Iran to ensure the destruction of Iran's main centrifuge plant at Natanz.

The Pentagon adviser is quoted as saying some senior officers and officials were considering quitting over the plans to use nuclear weapons.

Hersh won a Pulitzer prize in 1970 for uncovering the infamous My Lai massacre by U.S. troops in Vietnam and his reporting on abuses by American troops at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison helped expose one of the worst scandals to hit the Bush administration.

Some critics have said he is too eager to report assertions against the government that are hard to confirm.

Copyright 2006 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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