The Guardian 4 April, 2007

US ready to strike Iran within days

Russian intelligence has information that the US Armed Forces have nearly completed preparations for a possible military operation against Iran, and will be ready to strike in early April, a security official said.

Official data says the USís military presence in the region has reached the level of March 2003 when the US invaded Iraq.

The US has not excluded the military option in negotiations on Iran over its refusal to abandon its nuclear program. The UN Security Council passed a new resolution on Iran last Saturday, toughening economic sanctions against the country and accepting the possibility of a military solution to the crisis.

The security source said the Pentagon could, after assessing the damage done to the Iranian forces by its possible missile strikes and analysing the political situation there, decide to conduct ground operations as well.

A senior Russian security official said that the Pentagon hoped to bring Iran to its knees and had recently intensified training for air and ground operations.

Russian Col-Gen Leonid Ivashov, Vice-President of the Academy of Geopolitical Sciences, said last week the Pentagon was planning to deliver a massive air strike on Iranís military infrastructure in the near future.

A new US carrier battle group has been dispatched to the Gulf. The USS John C Stennis, with a crew of 3,200 and around 80 fixed-wing aircraft, including F/A-18 Hornet and Superhornet fighter-bombers, eight support ships and four nuclear submarines are heading for the Gulf, where a similar group led by the USS Dwight D Eisenhower has been deployed since December 2006. The US is also sending Patriot anti-missile systems to the region.

On the other hand Russiaís Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, "We are constantly working on how to resolve the situation around the Iranian nuclear program and other conflicts peacefully. This policy is unchanged and we will pursue it in the future."

Acknowledgement to Russian Information Agency Novosti (March 30, 2007)

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