Sun, Feb 11, 2007 - Page 1 News List

US forces almost ready for Iran air strike, say sources

THE GUARDIAN , WASHINGTON

But in the face of opposition from Congress, the Pentagon and state department, Bush opted last month for an AEI plan to send more troops to Iraq. Will he support calls from within the AEI for a strike on Iran?

Josh Muravchik, a Middle East specialist at the AEI, is among its most vocal supporters of such a strike.

"I do not think anyone in the US is talking about invasion. We have been chastened by the experience of Iraq, even a hawk like myself," he said.

But an air strike was another matter. The danger of Iran having a nuclear weapon "is not just that it might use it out of the blue but as a shield to do all sorts of mischief. I do not believe there will be any way to stop this happening other than physical force," Muravchik said.

Bush is part of the US generation that refuses to forgive Iran for the 1979 to 1981 hostage crisis. He leaves office in January 2009 and has said repeatedly that he does not want a legacy in which Iran has achieved superpower status in the region and come close to acquiring a nuclear weapon capability.

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