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.
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
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
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
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.