IPPNW Calls on US to Renounce
Nuclear Strike Plans Against Iran

April 10, 2006

IPPNW is appalled by revelations contained in a New Yorker article by journalist Seymour Hersh that the US is actively considering plans to attack Iranian underground nuclear installations with nuclear weapons, and has called on President George W. Bush to renounce the "nuclear option" as a response to concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.

IPPNW Co-President Gunnar Westberg condemned any use of nuclear weapons as "a crime against humanity." He cited studies previously published by IPPNW and its US affiliate, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), refuting claims that nuclear-armed earth penetrating weapons could be used without causing massive casualties and environmental damage.

The United States currently deploys both conventional and nuclear EPWs, including about 50 nuclear-tipped B61-11s, which can penetrate 2-3 meters and have reported yields between 0.3 kilotons and 340 kilotons. Another nuclear bomb in the existing US arsenal, the B-83, has yields as high as 1.2 megatons. Congress withdrew funding for the further development of low-yield nuclear bunker busters in 2005.

The PSR study, published in 2005, concluded that a nuclear bunker strike against the suspected Iranian underground nuclear materials storage site at Isfahan, using nuclear weapons currently in the US arsenal, would cause massive numbers of casualties and “severe adverse health impacts on civilian and military populations near targeted areas.” Radioactive fallout from such a strike could affect much of the region, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.

Hersh alleged that the Pentagon had presented an option to the White House for the use of a tactical nuclear bunker buster against underground nuclear sites in Iran. He also reported that US Navy aircraft "have been flying simulated nuclear-weapons delivery missions...within range of Iranian coastal radars" since last summer.

"Our findings unequivocally refute the contention by influential members of the Bush administration that nuclear bunker busters could be used in Iran or anywhere else with minimal so-called collateral damage," according to Victor W. Sidel, lead author of the 2003 IPPNW study.

"Were the US to use such weapons," Dr. Sidel said, "it would be crossing the nuclear threshold for the first time since the US used nuclear weapons on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki more than 60 years ago. This is not only morally repugnant, but it would start us down the slippery slope to the use of nuclear weapons of greater yield — something the entire world has been trying to prevent since 1945."

Dr. Westberg added that IPPNW is opposed to any military attack against Iran, and called for renewed diplomatic efforts to resolve international concerns that Iran is engaged in nuclear weapons research and development in violation of its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Please contact the US Embassy in your country to protest any use of nuclear weapons by the US or by any other nuclear weapon state in response to concerns over Iran's nuclear programs. Send a message that the only viable solution to the problem of nuclear proliferation is for the nuclear weapon states, including the US, to eliminate their own nuclear arsenals as they are obliged to do under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Full compliance under the NPT by the nuclear and non-nuclear weapon states is the cornerstone of a nuclear-weapon-free world.

Close window