Public Comment

Iran and the New US Bunker Buster Bomb

By Kenneth J. Theisen
Thursday October 15, 2009 - 01:04:00 PM

The U.S. is determined to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. President Obama has said he will “do everything” to stop this. U.S. officials have repeatedly said that no options will be taken off the table, implying that war against Iran is an option. The U.S. has repeatedly claimed that Iran is using its nuclear energy program as a cover for obtaining nukes. We hear this refrain despite the lack of any real evidence and despite the U.S.’s own National Intelligence Estimate and various statements of the International Atomic Energy Administration (IAEA) that there is no evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. 

The U.S. is currently using various weapons against Iran, including propaganda, diplomacy, sanctions, and actual war preparations and threats. While the U.S. is currently emphasizing diplomacy, the possibility of war should not be discounted. The rush job that is now underway to produce a 15-ton bunker-buster bomb is an indicator that the U.S. is preparing for war if it believes it is necessary to achieve U.S. goals. 

The Pentagon has set a target date of Dec. 2009 for the production of this latest weapon, three years ahead of the previous production schedule. This bomb reportedly can penetrate 60 meters underground before exploding, making it an ideal weapon to destroy Iranian underground facilities. In addition to the development of the bomb, it is also reported that the Pentagon is adapting the bomb bay of the B2a bomber for the actual delivery of the weapons. The Democrat-run Congress funded this project in the 2009 war budget. Congress advanced $68 million to accelerate the production of the weapon. 

In its funding request to Congress the Pentagon stated, “The Department has an Urgent Operational Need (UON) for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high threat environments. The MOP is the weapon of choice to meet the requirements of the UON.” It further said that the request was endorsed by CentCom, which has military responsibility for Iran. 

While these military preparations are a warning to Iran and an attempt to strengthen the U.S. negotiating hand, they also serve to increase the ability of the U.S. to actually launch an attack against Iran. If diplomacy, threats, sanctions, and other weapons fail to achieve U.S. goals, war could follow. 

The U.S., Germany, Russia, China, and the U.K., began negotiations with Iran on its nuclear enrichment program on Oct. 1. These nations demanded that Tehran open up its nuclear facilities and programs to international inspection. The production of this bomb is meant to back up this demand with the threat of military attack. The U.S. has also threatened to tighten economic sanctions against Iran. 

The Pentagon has confirmed the development and intent to deploy the weapons. On Oct. 7, military press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters, “It is under development right now and should be deployable in the coming months.” Morrell stated the bomb is designed “to defeat hardened facilities used by hostile states to protect weapons of mass destruction.” 

The U.S. recently accused Iran of building a uranium enrichment facility near Qom, Iran and attempting to hide this new facility from the IAEA. The fact that this facility is not yet completed and that Iran notified the IAEA by letter about the construction the week before the U.S. announced its “discovery” have been conveniently ignored by U.S. propagandists. Iran has already agreed to IAEA inspections of the new plant construction this month. 

Does Iran have a secret nuclear weapons program? The reactionary Iranian regime is not above lying about such a program. But there is no concrete evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran at this time and Iran has no nukes. 

But even if the Iranian regime is developing nukes, this is no reason for us to back the U.S. rulers in launching an imperialist war against Iran. We have no interest in supporting our reactionary ruling class against the reactionary ruling class in Iran. The U.S. will not be going to war to free the Iranian people who it helped repress for so long under the Shah of Iran. If it goes to war it will be because Iran poses a major obstacle to U.S. objectives and dominance in the strategically key Middle East-Central Asian region. Control of this region—a military-strategic crossroads and “pivot” between Asia, Europe and Africa, with 80 percent of the world’s energy reserves—is considered vital to continued U.S. global supremacy, and crucial to the very functioning of U.S. capitalism-imperialism. 

Iran is a strategically located country with large energy reserves. In 1979 after a quarter century of dictatorial rule by the U.S. supported Shah, who was installed by a CIA coup, Islamic theocrats took power. They have formed a relatively coherent state, an Islamic fundamentalist theocracy and pole of opposition in conflict with the direction the U.S. wants to take the region. Iran has helped strengthen Islamic fundamentalism which has become a big problem for the U.S. Iran’s agenda in Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere conflicts with U.S. plans. 

Iran is now highly polarized and its leaders are under great stress. Millions of Iranians justifiably hate the regime and there are divisions among Iran’s rulers. Mounting international pressure is also contributing to destabilizing the theocratic regime. In this situation the U.S. is maneuvering to gain advantage and to pursue its own hegemonic designs. All this may result in pushing the rulers in Tehran to move forward with their nuclear program. 

Neither side of the tense and dangerous confrontation between U.S. imperialism and the Islamic Republic of Iran represents anything positive for the world’s people. War between the U.S. and Iran will only bring massive suffering to the people of Iran and of the world. We in the U.S. have a special and urgent responsibility—beginning with opposing aggression by the U.S. and its allies in any form—whether sanctions, threats, or military attacks. War against Iran must be opposed and no U.S. excuses will justify such a crime. 


Kenneth J. Theisen is an Oakland resident and a steering committee member of World Can't Wait.