Der Spiegel - September 21, 2004
Jerusalem - "These are not weapons, which can be used at the Palestinian front. Security sources report that Israel could use the "Bunker Breakers" against Iran or possibly Syria, thereby confirming a report in the newspaper "Haaretz". Neither the US Embassy in Israel nor the Israeli Ministry of Defense were willing to comment. "Bunker Breakers" are bombs which weight about one ton, are able to penetrate deep into the ground and to pierce up to two meter thick concrete walls. These could possibly enable Israel to destroy Iranian underground atomic plants.
According to "Haaretz" the pentagon justification for the sales of the weapons to the US congress was the necessity for the Israeli military to preserve its "Qualitative Advantage" in the region. This also serves the strategic and tactical interests of the United States.
From Israeli government circles it was reported that the arms deal went through without any political difficulties, although Israel had already been strongly criticized internationally for the use of precision bombs in the liquidation of Hamas leaders.
According to the newspaper report, the transaction, worth a total of $139 million, will not be finalized before the US presidential election on November 2nd. According to the newspaper report, Israel wants to buy 4500 more guided weapons in addition to the 500 bunker breaking bombs.
In 1981 Israel had destroyed the building site of the Iraqi atomic reactor "Osirak" with a surprise air raid in order to prevent Iraq from building nuclear weapons. The USA now accuses Iran of hiding the building of nuclear weapons behind its civilian atomic program. Iran denies this and has continuously insisted that its program only serves the generation of electric power.
On Sunday Iran rejected the demand of the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA) to suspend its uranium enrichment program. Today the work began for the enrichment of uranium. Vice-president Resa Aghasadeh explained that the first successful tests for the transformation of natural uranium to the gaseous uranium hexafluoride had been completed.
This material can be concentrated in centrifuges so much that it can used as fuel for atomic power plants but also for the building of explosive atomic devices. Some of the more than 40 tons of available natural uranium had already been used for the transformation, Aghasadeh told journalists in Vienna. The Iranian government insists that it needs the uranium enrichment technology for the generation of electric energy.
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2004
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
Last updated 24/03/2005