The US is updating contingency plans for a non-nuclear strike to cripple
Iran's atomic weapon programme if international diplomacy fails, Pentagon sources
Strategists are understood to have presented two options for pinpoint
strikes using B2 bombers flying directly from bases in Missouri, Guam in the
Pacific and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
RAF Fairford in Gloucester also has facilities for B2s but this has been ruled
out because of the UK's opposition to military action against Tehran.
The main plan calls for a rolling, five-day bombing campaign against 400 key
targets in Iran, including 24 nuclear-related sites, 14 military airfields and
radar installations, and Revolutionary Guard headquarters.
At least 75 targets in underground complexes would be attacked with waves of
Iranian radar networks and air defence bases would be struck by submarine-launched
Tomahawk cruise missiles and then kept out of action by carrier aircraft flying
from warships in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.
The alternative to an all-out campaign is a demonstration strike against one
or two high-profile targets such as the Natanz uranium enrichment facility or
the hexafluoride gas plant at Isfahan.
UK sources say contingency plans have also been drawn up to cope with the inevitable
backlash against the Basra garrison in neighbouring Iraq.