US Could Destroy Iran's Nuclear Bunker: Experts

Facility not as 'impregnable' as Iran seems to believe

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 1, 2012 7:33 AM CST

(Newser) – The Obama administration reportedly has little desire to launch a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, but just in case it ever did, US weaponry is capable of destroying even Iran's most protected site, experts tell the Washington Post. Iran's Fordow facility—which, until recently, the country had been keeping secret—was specifically built underneath the northwestern mountain ranges to protect it from aerial assault. Iran's civil defense chief once boasted that it was "impregnable."

US officials admit that they can't destroy the facility in one shot. But after recent training exercises on similar targets, they're confident that given several days of sustained attacks, the Pentagon's latest bunker-buster, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, could collapse the tunnels around the facility and destroy the centrifuges buried there. Israel has less advanced bunker busters, and that's part of the reason it's more eager to attack; it believes its window of opportunity is closing as Iran moves operations underground.

This Sept. 26, 2009 file satellite image provided by GeoEye shows the location of the underground Fordow nuclear site, 20 miles north, northeast of Qom.
This Sept. 26, 2009 file satellite image provided by GeoEye shows the location of the underground Fordow nuclear site, 20 miles north, northeast of Qom.   (AP Photo/GeoEye Satellite Image, IHS Jane's Analysis, File)
In this Sept. 2007 file picture an anti-aircraft gun position is seen at Iran's nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, Iran.
In this Sept. 2007 file picture an anti-aircraft gun position is seen at Iran's nuclear enrichment facility in Natanz, Iran.   (AP Photo/Hasan Sarbakhshian, File)
This Sept. 26, 2009 file satellite image provided by GeoEye shows a facility under construction inside a mountain located about 20 miles north northeast of Qom, Iran.
This Sept. 26, 2009 file satellite image provided by GeoEye shows a facility under construction inside a mountain located about 20 miles north northeast of Qom, Iran.   (AP Photo/GeoEye Satellite Image, IHS Jane's Analysis, File)
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