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May 18, 2015 1:59 pm

US Must Ensure Israel Can Destroy Iran’s ‘Deeply Buried Nuclear Sites,’ Reps Say

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A B-52 bomber releases a Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000-pound bunker buster bomb. Photo: Wikipedia

The U.S. must provide Israel with 37,000 pound bunker-buster bombs to ensure the Jewish state has the means to “destroy Iran’s most deeply buried nuclear sites,” two congresspeople wrote on Monday.

“A longstanding component of America’s Iran policy has been a credible military threat to ensure that Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon … Providing Israel with a stronger capability to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities would help deter Iran from ever trying to break any [nuclear agreement] it may sign,” wrote representatives Grace Meng (D-Queens) and Lee Zeldin (R-LI) in an opinion piece for the New York Post.

The two called for the U.S. to boost Israel’s cache of bunker-busting bombs, which the representatives said no longer could destroy Iran’s most fortified nuclear sites, by providing the Jewish state with GBU-57 30,000-pound bunker-buster bombs, alternately known at Massive Ordnance Penetrators or MOPs.

Iran has developed underground nuclear facilities, such as the one at Fordow, to shield its research and development activities from military threats, especially from the United States and Israel.

The representatives wrote the U.S. must stay “negotiating [the nuclear deal with Iran] from a position of strength,” which they argued is undergirded by a “credible military threat” from Israel.

They insisted that providing Israel with the bombs would help “assuage the concerns of Congress and our Middle East allies, who are wary of the emerging nuclear deal.”

They said “more must be done for Israel to retain its ‘Qualitative Military Edge,'” arguing that “Israel already has significant offensive military capabilities, and it has always used them responsibly.”

In order to improve Gulf states’ weapons without jeopardizing Israel’s military edge, which is enshrined in U.S. law, the president may have to “proportionally strengthen Israel,” which could be accomplished through the delivery of these bombs, they said.

On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was not too late yet to salvage a “bad deal” with Iran.

“It’s still not too late to retract the plan that gives Iran an agreement which will pave it a road to a nuclear weapon,” said Netanyahu at a ceremony for Jerusalem Day.

Leaders from six Gulf states meanwhile met with President Barack Obama at Camp David last week, presumably to request additional fighter jets and defense systems from Washington, as well as to secure a military commitment from the U.S. regarding a possible confrontation with Iran.

The U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China and Germany are in the midst of negotiations with Iran to finalize an agreement by June 30 that would prevent Iran from procuring nuclear weapons, which Israel views as its greatest existential threat.

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  • Roddy6667

    Russia will ensure that Israel cannot deliver the bomb. Also, many of the Russian and Chinese technicians working would be killed, causing a huge problem. It is a stalemate, unless America wants to experience cruise missiles landing in Washington DC and New York.

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  • Carl Jones

    This weapon does not work in respect of nuclear facilities 100ft under rock and Iran`s own super strength concrete.

    The US cannot guarantee that this weapon can reach the target and still have an undamaged warhead. The US might want to attach a micro nuke (ultra low yeald) or an exotic sub-critical weapon. These weapons have been used extensively in Bali, Taba Hilton, Jakarta Marriott, Jakarta Australian Embassy, UN compound in Baghdad, Falujah, the Rafik Hariri assassination and 9/11. This is not a full list.

    The reason why the US is worried about using this weapon, is that the target site might not `self seal` and this could lead to widespread radioactive fallout. Most of the targets are located near built up areas, not to mention contamination in other countries.

    It is also widely accepted that any attack, even if initially considered successful, would not delay Iran`s nuclear program by much.

    • jb willikers

      It’s possible the bomb could be fitted (in production) to focus the burst generally downward which would mitigate the probability of significant leaks. I don’t see reopening or uncovering the site to be in the realm of possibility for two reasons: 1. The down-burst would demolish/incinerate anything within it’s reach. 2. If such a raid occurred it would not be as if Iran and Israel would go back to to the status quo ante. There would a great upheaval and a great effort to demolish the Iranian AF and secure the airspace over Iran. That would make any Iranian attempts to gain any practical benefits near impossible. This is a very narrow and simple look at one aspect of what would be an extremely complex set of dynamics in play.

      A more immediate problem is how does Israel deliver a bomb that size? The AF does not have a plane in inventory that is capable of doing it. The F-15I can carry 22,000, but that is dispersed across the undercarriage. Recondition a jetliner for a one way mission – very doubtful that would meet the mission requirements.

  • Julian Clovelley

    If you are going to “Grandstand” then first you need to hold the moral high ground

    You can’t do that and occupy another country’s land or deny it the Statehood you enjoy and defend for yourselves

    The world stopped sympathising long ago because of the settlements and the occupation

    You know what has to be done – get back within the original borders – negotiate minor adjustments

    Till then Israel just isolates itself more daily.

    • jb willikers

      Holding the moral high ground is far more complex than simplistic and false moral equivalence. Your argument is specious and cartoonish and not a mature argument. It belongs on SNL where the kids get their logic, and no doubt it has been there, or will be.

  • Il n’y a pas trente six solutions : ou les USA fournissent ces bombes à Israél,ou ils aident Israél a les produire ou alors,ils les utilisent eux mêmes sur l’Iran –
    Car ce fameux traité n’est rien d’autre que ” du vent” – Depuis le temps que l’Iran ” roule des mécaniques”,il serait temps de les calmer “sérieusement “…Avant qu’il ne soit trop tard…Oh,il ne sera jamais vraiment trop tard…mais ça coutera beaucoup plus cher…en vies humaines !Alors,Barrack,tu te décides ???

  • RiverKing

    Does the IAF have an attack aircraft capable of delivering a 37,000 pound bomb in Iran? For example, that’s more than twice the weight an F16 could lift.

    • elle

      read the article

      • jb willikers

        elle – where does the article address that point??

  • Larry Andrews

    President Obama’s Middle East policy makes George W. Bush look like a genius!! There ain’t no such country called Iran. There is a country called the Islamic Republic of Iran, because that is exactly what it is. A totalitarian theocracy which has no freedom of speech or freedom of press. Either the Islamic Republic of Iran agrees to dismantle and destroy its nuclear weapons program, or the United States, every Western democracy, Israel and all of the Sunni Muslim countries declare war against it. It’s that simple!!!

  • Paul

    Bad strategy.
    Iran should be given the firm understanding that not Israel but rather the entire Western World will bomb them if necessary.
    The entire presentation of Israel as the prime target for potential Iranian nukes is a successful red-herring, to distract attention from Iran’s primary purpose.
    If Iran fires one bomb at Israel, they will face annihilation from the 200 missile-borne nukes Israel has been said to possess. But by merely conducting one successful nuclear test on its own ground, the Iranians can enforce immediate surrender of the moderate middle east oil-producing countries its has been trying to covertly take over for so long – and thus become a super-power, controlling the middle-east energy that supplies most of the western world.
    By openly stating they are only targeting Israel, the Iranians are successfully masking their real intent.
    Israel should state they are not interested in preventing Iran from nuclear capability, it is not Israel’s problem. But Israel should add that in view of the numerous threats of annihilation of Israel by Iran, any missile aimed at Israel from Iran will be assumed to be a nuclear attack and will enforce a pre-emptive strike of all Israel’s nuclear resources.

  • kris kristian

    Can Israel do this alone?
    Iran will be waiting 24/7
    It could be a suicide flight.
    If the IAF is attacked by Iran before the IAF even reaches Iran, they may be able to shoot down any, if not all IAF planes, which will result in the bomb being wasted.
    my suggestion would be
    , that if the Aras had any sence, they would work with Israel on this matter.
    Put aside their hatred of Israel, but it would prevent Iran from attacking Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia.
    These Arab states should work with the IDF as escorts to ensure that the bomb is delivered successfully.
    They could copy the RAF bombing over Germany which helped win the war, by having a huge escort of the IAF>

  • Atilla

    Agree 100%, but one question remains, what aircraft does the IAF have capable of delivering such weapons ?

    With that muslim in the White Mosque, it’s not likely it will
    ” lend ” the IAF any suitable aircraft.

  • shloime

    did they mention also transferring a few b-52s (or b-2s) to israel? because israel currently doesn’t have any aircraft capable of carrying a 13-ton bunker-buster.

    so either their staff who composed the letter is a few fries short of a happy meal, or this is pure and simple grandstanding.