America’s plan B for Iran “will be successful,” promises US defense secretary, Leon Panetta. Reports suggest this is no sable rattling, as the US strike groups deployed to the Persian Gulf may be carrying some 430 Tomahawk missiles.
Washington has not yet dropped its “all options” stance towards Iran, who, they fear, may be building nuclear weapons. The confirmation was obtained by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer from Panetta on Thursday.
“We are prepared with all options on the table if we have to respond,” Panetta said, adding that “there are plans” to deal with Iran if the country does not give up its nuclear ambitions.
“I don’t think there is any question that if we have to implement that plan, it will be successful,” he added.
This practical approach sees two American aircraft carriers, their battle groups, several submarines and additional Marines deployed to the Gulf waters. Both the US Navy and the Pentagon say the commissions are “routine.”
Nevertheless, assessments made by Interfax news agency say that the group headed by the USS Enterprise alone has taken at least 130 Tomahawk missiles to the Persian Gulf.
The other group, which has the USS Abraham Lincoln as its flagship, has as many long-range cruise missiles of the same class. This group was last reported to be patrolling the Arabian Sea, where the US Navy says it is providing air support to NATO troops in Afghanistan.
The submarine USS Georgia, which is also navigating the waters, is estimated to be carrying 154 Tomahawks. Another submarine, assigned to an amphibious assault group, is reported to have 12 cruise missiles at its disposal.
All this gives a total figure of at least 430 Tomahawks with a range of 1,700 km on a routine voyage around the waters of the Persian Gulf. The missiles would be able to take out Iran’s air-defense system in its entirety and turn its military airfields into rubble, experts tell Interfax.
With all the military build-up in the area, Washington says the first round of nuclear talks with Tehran gave them “positive” feelings. However, no alleviating of sanctions against Iran’s economy has so far been debated in the White House, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared on Monday.
The USA seems to be between a rock and the hard place regarding the issue of Iran. On the one hand, Washington says they want Iran to drop nukes, but diplomacy comes first. On the other hand, the US has to restrain Israel as its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has branded the first round of talks with Iran an international “freebie” for the country. He also makes it a point of mentioning at least once a month that Tehran is “an existential threat” to Israel.
Iran denies it is trying to build nuclear weapons, saying also it is their right to produce nuclear energy and radioactive treatment for cancer patients.