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Iran Claims Think Tank Says It Can Hit Dimona Nuclear Reactor

Iranian media says a US think tank reports Tehran can hit Israel’s nuclear reactor in Dimona without drawing the United States into a war.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 10/10/2012, 12:52 PM

Dimona plant
Dimona plant
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Iranian media say a U.S. think tank reports Tehran can strike the "Israeli nuclear complex at Dimona or the Israeli airbases without drawing the United States into a war."

The state-controlled Fars News Agency reported Wednesday that “a group of U.S. presidential advisers at the Wilson Center warned that Iran could engage in at least token missile/rocket strikes against the attacker, targeting sites in Israel or U.S. facilities in the region.“

The advisers allegedly said that the Obama administration should avoid any military adventurism against Iran because it could backfire.

"According to unclassified estimates, Iran probably has at least two dozen and possibly more than 100 conventionally armed ballistic missiles capable of striking most of the region, including Israel," the think tank was reported to have said.

Israel last week downed a drone, presumably launched by the Iranian-financed Hizbullah terrorist organization. The UAV may have been programmed to fly over the nuclear reactor near Dimona. Instead, it made a U-turn and flew over rural areas north of Be’er Sheva before being downed by a missile from an F-16 jet.

A visit to the Wilson Center site reveals that it is jointly sponsoring an event on Friday featuring businessman and author Khosrow B. Semnani, a former Iranian who has written “The Ayatollah’s Nuclear Gamble: the Human Cost of Military Strikes against Iran's Nuclear Facilities.”

He has been quoted in TIME and The Atlantic that a military strike on Iran could cause thousands of fatalities.

The Wilson Center states, “The Middle East Program pays special attention to the role of women, youth, civil society institutions, Islam, and democratic and autocratic tendencies.”

Notably, Fars did not back up the report that it can strike Dimona but instead quoted others that Israel cannot successfully attack Iran and if it tries, it would meet “disaster.”

Fars also did not quote Semnani, who is the founder of the Omid [Hope] for Iran organization, which says it is “an initiative committed to improving the life of ordinary Iranians by serving as a collaborative platform for promoting individual freedom, empowering civil society and advancing good governance.”

“We are committed to defending Iran’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, to restoring Iran’s standing and prestige in the international community, and to promoting friendly relations between Iran and all nations,” the website states.

Semnani is a prominent philanthropist and industrialist based in Salt Lake City and designed and developed the Grassy Mountain facility, the first hazardous waste disposal facility in the State of Utah in 1980.  

His research has detailed, scientific discussion of the human and environmental consequences of a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, but he previously has not been quoted as having stated that Iran can strike Dimona and do so without prompting a military response by the United States.