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Battle plan for Iran ready - US envoy to Israel

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The Pentagon has a ready plan for a military attack on Iran, the American ambassador to Israel warned days before a key meeting over the controversial nuclear program of the Islamic Republic.

Western countries and Israel are exerting pressure on Iran to stop uranium enrichment, saying that Tehran is secretly trying to build a nuclear bomb. Iran insists that its nuclear program is strictly civil.

“It would be preferable to resolve this diplomatically and through the use of pressure than to use military force,” US Ambassador Dan Shapiro said in remarks about Iran aired by Israel’s Army Radio on Thursday.

“But that doesn’t mean that option is not fully available – not just available, but it’s ready. The necessary planning has been done to ensure that it’s ready,” said Shapiro.

The conflict is to be discussed in Baghdad on May 23, when envoys from the P5+1 group, which includes Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US, are to meet Iranian negotiators. The previous round of talks was held in Istanbul on April 14.

Earlier there were numerous reports that Iran may face a pre-emptive strike either by Israel alone or by Israel and its NATO allies, if they see no other option to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear capabilities. However, intelligence communities both in Israel and the US believe that Iran has not taken a political decision to build the bomb yet.

Meanwhile the US may mount more sanctions against Iran, as the Senate is discussing a new package on Thursday. The sanctions are focused on foreign banks that handle transactions for Iran’s national oil and tanker companies, and include measures to close loopholes in existing sanctions.

The US and EU have put a ban on the import of Iranian oil to cripple its foreign currency revenues. Washington also convinced several Iranian partners, such as Japan and South Korea, to reduce their trade with Tehran. Foreign companies involved in oil trade with Iran are risking sanctions, including being banned from American and European financial markets.

Iran says the economic sanctions would not stop it from pursuing nuclear energy development and says the Baghdad talks must be based on the recognition of rights of the Iranian nation to do so.

“Talks for cooperation, based on the alienable rights of the Iranian nation, must be put on the table in Baghdad,” the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, said on Thursday.

Iran’s top nuclear negotiator says time is running out “for applying pressure and this approach has failed to bear results,” which came in response to the warning by some P5+1 members, that time is running out for Iran in terms of dialogue.


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