'US upgrades bomb to thwart Israel strike on Iran'

'Wall Street Journal' reports that US has updated bunker buster to enable strike on underground Iranian uranium enrichment facility.

Iranian nuclear program 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS)
Iranian nuclear program 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The US has upgraded its biggest bunker buster bomb specifically to enable the destruction of Iran’s underground Fordow uranium enrichment plant near the city of Qom, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
According to the report, the Pentagon sees the move as critical to convincing Israel that the US will indeed prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons and possesses weaponry to do so that Israel does not have.
The Journal quoted diplomats as saying that US officials have showed video footage to their Israeli counterparts of an earlier version of the bunker buster in action and explained the advanced features that have been added.
The video displays the bomb hitting the ground near its target and setting off a massive underground explosion, sources told the Journal.
Click here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threatClick here for full Jpost coverage of the Iranian threat
The bunker buster, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), is 30,000 pounds (13,608 kg.) and has been improved with “adjusted fuses to maximize its burrowing power, upgraded guidance systems to improve its precision and hi-tech equipment intended to allow it to evade Iranian air defenses in order to reach and destroy the Fordow nuclear enrichment complex,” according to the Journal.
“Hopefully we never have to use it, but if we had to, it would work.” the Journal quoted a senior US official as saying.
The report added that the existence of a bomb that has the capability of destroying the underground facility from the air could also give the West extra bargaining power in nuclear negotiations with the Iranians.
The Journal quoted US officials as saying the improved MOP will serve to convince Israel to hold off on unilaterally attacking Iran and give Washington more time to diplomatically neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat.
According to the report, US officials, including defense secretary Chuck Hagel, have told their Israeli counterparts in recent weeks that Washington will explore military options against Teheran’s nuclear program following Iran’s presidential election in June.
“The election is a milestone to determine whether or not Iranian intentions will shift,” the Journal quoted a US official as saying.