United States fears that Israel may be preparing a strike on Iran over
the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, a senior military official told CNN on Friday.RELATED: PostScript: When the public gets taken for a ride
The senior official said that the US was "absolutely" concerned about a potential Israeli attack, and said that the US military is "increasingly vigilant" of activities in both Israel and Iran that could indicate military intentions.
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The official also said that while the US had no intention of striking Iran, it was uncertain that Israel would inform America of its intentions should it choose to take out Iran's nuclear facilities. Such an operation would be difficult, the official said, because Iran has "top notch" air defenses.
The statements come ahead of a report due next week by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, which will support
allegations that Iran built a large steel container for carrying out
tests with high explosives that could be used in nuclear weapons,
according to sources briefed on the document.
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) obtained satellite pictures of the
container at Parchin, near Tehran, and other evidence that lent credence
to allegations by IAEA member states that the installation was intended
for nuclear-related explosives testing, the sources said.
The IAEA will also reveal evidence that Iran carried out computer modeling of a nuclear weapon, one source said.
Western diplomats say the keenly awaited report will strengthen suspicions that Tehran is seeking to develop a capability to make atomic bombs but stop short of explicitly saying it is doing so.
It was unclear when the container was built or whether it was actually used for nuclear-related work.
Iranian officials were not immediately available for comment.
Suspicions of nuclear arms work at the Parchin military complex southeast of Tehran date back at least to 2004 when a prominent nuclear expert said satellite images showed it may be a site for research, testing and production of nuclear weapons.
Iran, which says its nuclear program is peaceful, has previously denied the allegations. In 2005, Iran allowed UN nuclear inspectors to visit Parchin.
The IAEA in May listed seven areas of concern regarding possible
military dimensions to Iran's nuclear program, including high explosives
manufacture and testing and the development, manufacture and testing of
One of the main hurdles in making an atomic bomb is designing a ring of
conventional explosives used to compress atomic material in the warhead
core, igniting a nuclear chain reaction. Experiments have to be carried
out to test the impact of explosions on bomb components.
The IAEA report is expected to include other evidence of research and
other activities that make little sense if not weapons-related, Western
Western powers believe Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear
weapons, but Tehran denies this, saying it is enriching uranium only to
power reactors for electricity generation.
Any evidence of nuclear weapons activities would strengthen calls for further sanctions against Iran.