Press TV – March 17, 2009
A prominent US think tank has advised Israel to use ballistic missiles against Iran's nuclear sites after deciding on a pre-emptive strike.
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A Jericho III launch
As Israelis continue to express willingness to militarily take out Iran's nuclear infrastructure, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has conducted a study on Israeli options for such military plans.
Amid lingering western doubts over the success of any Israeli airstrike against Iran, the CSIS said in its report released on Monday that Israeli ballistic missiles could be the weapon of choice against the facilities.
Israel is assumed to have Jericho missiles capable of hitting targets with an accuracy of a few dozen meters from target, according to Reuters estimates.
"If the Jericho III is fully developed and its accuracy is quite high then this scenario could look much more feasible than using combat aircraft," read the CSIS report.
The most advanced Jerichos carry 750 kg (1,650 lb) conventional warheads and have a range of thousands of kilometers.
According to the CSIS assessment, 42 of such missiles will be able to "severely damage or demolish" Iran's core nuclear sites at Natanz, Esfahan and Arak.
The report comes as experts believe Iran's sites are too distant, dispersed and fortified for Israel to take on alone.
Meanwhile in the White House, President Barack Obama is believed to be laying out plans to engage Iran with diplomacy to resolve the controversy surrounding the Iranian program.
Iran says the only objective of its program is to make use of the civilian applications of the nuclear technology.
Israel, however, accuses the country of having military intentions in its pursuit and says Tehran poses an "existential threat" to Tel Aviv.
Under such claims, Israel, which veils its nuclear arsenal by an "ambiguity" policy, argues that the use of military force is a legitimate option against Iran.
On Monday, Israeli military Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi told top US diplomats in Washington that he is tasked with drawing up contingency plans since a military operation against Iran was a 'concrete possibility'.
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