Report: U.S. shifts emphasis in possible confrontation with Iran

By Xinhua

Washington : The Bush administration is shifting emphasis from the plan of a broad bombing attack to “surgical” strikes on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in its strategy of possible military confrontation with Iran, the New Yorker said in an on-line report Sunday.

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The Bush administration has come to conclusion that many of America’s problems in Iraq are the responsibility of Teheran, then the solution to them is to confront Iran, the report said.

This summer, the White House, pushed by Vice President Dick Cheney, requested that the joint chiefs of staff redraw long-standing plans for a possible attack on Iran, the report said, citing former officials and government consultants.

The focus of the plans had been a broad bombing attack, with targets including Iran’s known and suspected nuclear facilities and other military and infrastructure sites. Now the emphasis is on “surgical” strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Teheran and elsewhere, which, the Bush administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq, the report said.

According to the report, the shift in targeting reflects three developments: First, the Bush administration has concluded that its campaign to convince the American public that Iran poses an imminent nuclear threat has failed, and as a result there is not enough popular support for a major bombing campaign.

The second development is that the White House has come to terms, in private, with the general consensus of the American intelligence community that Iran is at least five years away from obtaining a bomb.

And, finally, there has been a growing recognition in Washington and throughout the Middle East that Iran is emerging as the geopolitical winner of the war in Iraq, the report said.

The Bush administration has said it focused on diplomacy to try to resolve Iran’s nuclear issue, but has insisted it will take “no option off the table.”