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Wednesday, June 22, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

U.S. Air Force advised to conduct simulations
for strike against nuclear Iran

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force has been urged to prepare for war with Iran.


The Rand Corp. asserted that the Air Force must increase exercises and testing of weapons as part of preparations for any order to attack Iran. In a report for the Air Force, Rand warned that the prospect of a U.S. air strike could turn real once Iran was deemed to have assembled a nuclear weapons arsenal.

"Timelines for military tasks will depend on what happens in Iran's nuclear program," the report, titled "Iran's Nuclear Future: Critical U.S. Policy Choices prepared for the U.S. Air Force," said.

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The report urged such U.S. preparations as exercises and war simulations, Middle East Newsline reported. Rand said the Air Force should train to fight under nuclear threat as well as targeting Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, responsible for strategic weapons programs.

"Design exercises and war games to support different policy choices," Rand said. "Exercise objectives for bombers could aim not only to demonstrate to Iran that investment in nuclear capabilities could possibly be destroyed but also to influence the internal Iranian debate over nuclear weaponization."

The simulations would be based on the escalation of conflict between Iran and the United States. Rand said the wargames would test the air force's ability to deter Iran with and without U.S. nuclear weapons.

"Provide ways to manage escalation in conflict with Iran," the report said. "Investigate concepts of operations to manage escalation in U.S.-Iran conflict, e.g., reinforce political communication that signals limited U.S. objectives; focus on immediate threat by directly targeting Iran's regime-supporting paramilitary forces; and withhold targeting of Iran's political leadership."

Rand said Iran could be expected to act rationally and would demonstrate caution in any conflict with the United States. The report said Teheran, despite its anti-Israel rhetoric, regards Washington as the chief threat and could resist U.S. military pressure.

"The Iranian government is aware of the United States' overwhelming nuclear capability, including the U.S. intercontinental ballistic missiles and sea-launched ballistic missiles," the report said. Greater psychological effect on Iranian political and military decisionmakers could possibly be achieved by U.S. movements and exercises of its nuclear-capable bombers and dual-capable fighter aircraft in the region to signal to Iran the potential costs of nuclear weaponization."

The U.S. military was expected to face Iran's conventional forces as well as IRGC. The report envisioned such Iranian responses as massive missile strikes on Gulf Cooperation Council states and Israel as well as blocking the Strait of Hormuz, the passage for 30 percent of crude oil exports.

"In addition, more advanced missiles, such as the Shihab-3 and Sejil, may provide it with the opportunity to target parts of Europe and Russia," the report said.

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