How would Iran react to a military strike Iran chemical, bio weapons threat is real
(News Max) An attack on Iran could trigger horrific retaliation against the U.S. and her allies in the Middle East with chemical and biological weapons including nerve gas, anthrax, and a germ similar to the devastating Ebola virus.
While the U.S. has not overtly threatened to bomb Iran’s burgeoning nuclear facilities, it has warned of using the “military option.” And Iran has countered if attacked it would retaliate.
Western intelligence experts doubt Iran has acquired a nuclear device and suggest she is several years from doing so.
But many agree that Iran has a program for chemical and biological weapons (CBWs) — one more shrouded in secrecy than her nuclear program. Not only do analysts say the Islamic regime has stockpiles of CBWs, they also suggest that Iran also has the means to deliver the weapons to targets in Israel, Iraq and the United States.
“The threat of chemical and biological retaliatory attack by Iran is very real,” Dr. Dany Shoham, a chemical and biological weapons expert at the Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in Israel, tells Newsmax. “Iran is prone to dare what Iraq did not, and has the needed operational capabilities.”
In response to a U.S. or Israeli attack, analysts maintain that Iran could strike U.S. forces in Iraq with artillery shells containing CBWs. Iran’s Shahab-3 missiles, with a range of up to 1,200 miles, could hit U.S. bases as far away as Oman, as well as Israeli targets in Haifa and Tel Aviv, experts say.
In addition to aerial bombardment, the Iranians could spray CBWs — including anthrax — from unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters or boats. Iran could also employ suicide attackers to drive trucks filled with CBWs into target areas, experts add.
Military experts also fear that Iran’s retaliation might not be limited to the Middle East. CBWs – especially biological weapons, which take up little space – could even be smuggled into the U.S.
A single gram of anthrax spores, the size of a packet of artificial sweetener, represents 5 million to 100 million lethal doses via inhalation. Once in the U.S., CBWs could be used in countless forms of attack, from direct attacks on civilians at shopping malls or schools, to infection of livestock, to poisoning of water supplies, experts say.
By whatever delivery method, the Iranians could release any combination of the chemical agents they are believed to posses, including:
Blister agents that damage the skin, eyes, and lungs
Nerve agents that kill by fixing the nerves in victims’ bodies in the “on” position, causing paralysis and asphyxiation
“Blood agents” that interfere with the energy-producing function of cells in the body
Choking agents that attack the tissues of the respiratory system, leading to slow suffocation.
Iran is also thought capable of employing powerful toxins – poisons made from living things – that cause bleeding, paralysis, diarrhea, and organ failure by interfering with the normal chemistry of the body. Toxins can also cause long-term effects such as liver cancer.
Such attacks would not only create casualties, but could force Iran’s enemies to abandon some areas altogether, military experts fear. For example, CBWs could render impassable the Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world’s oil supply is shipped.
The extent of Iran’s CBWs is hard to determine because CBW programs are easy to hide, analysts note. It is difficult for observers to tell the difference between legitimate chemical or biotechnology facilities and those that produce weapons.
A 2006 staff report by a subcommittee of the House Intelligence Committee complained that intelligence regarding potential Iranian CBWs was “neither voluminous nor conclusive,” although U.S. intelligence agencies had concluded that “Iran likely is pursuing chemical and biological weapons.”
Justin Logan of the anti-war Cato Institute wrote in USA Today that “Iran’s strategy of defense against a U.S. attack could involve . . . possibly chemical or biological attacks against either U.S. personnel in the region or against Israel.”
Even conservative columnist Norman Podhoretz, a prominent advocate for an attack on Iran, writes in Commentary Magazine that it is “plausible” that Iran “would attack Israel with missiles armed with non-nuclear warheads but possibly containing biological and/or chemical weapons.”
A recent report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies noted allegations of CBW production at facilities in Damghan and near Tehran. The center cites “credible-but-unverified reports” suggesting Iran may be stockpiling anthrax and botulinum toxin near Tabriz.
With regard to mustard gas and nerve gas, the CSIS report concludes that Iran possesses the technology to mass-produce those chemicals and deliver them to targets in artillery shells and bombs.
The American Federation of Scientists, meanwhile, estimates that Iran has several thousand tons of various agents, including sulfur mustard, phosgene, and cyanide agents. The FAS pegs Iran’s CBW production capability at around 1,000 tons per year.
For clues into Iran’s secretive weapons programs, analysts consider that:
Except for Pakistan, Iran is the most advanced nation in the Muslim world in the production and use of industrial chemicals and in biotechnology.
Iran came under repeated CBW attack during its long war with Iraq, gaining an appreciation of the value of such weapons, knowledge as to their battlefield use, and the opportunity to reverse-engineer the weapons used by the Iraqis.
As early as the 1980s, Iran was conducting extensive research on mycotoxins (fungal poisons).
In 1998, The New York Times reported that Iran was recruiting scientists who had worked in the Soviet biological weapons program.
In 2001, the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control said that Iran had produced biological weapons, and the Department of Defense declared that Iran had stockpiled blister, blood, and choking agents for use in shells, rockets, and aerial bombs.
According to multiple, credible reports, Iran has had access to CBW technology from the former Soviet Union, China, North Korea, and Cuba.
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