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Russian official says US will be ready to strike Iran in April
John Byrne
Published: Friday March 30, 2007
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A report filed today by the Russian News agency RIA Novosti indicates that Russian intelligence has information that the U.S. Armed Forces have nearly completed preparations for a possible military operation against Iran and will be ready to strike in early April.

Citing "a security official," the article alleges the U.S. has already compiled a list of possible targets on Iranian territory and practiced the operation during recent exercises in the Persian Gulf. The report aligns with previous reports by The New Yorker and RAW STORY concerning buildup towards a possible strike.

"Russian intelligence has information that the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in the Persian Gulf have nearly completed preparations for a missile strike against Iranian territory," the source said.

RIA Novosti is a government-linked press organ, which is managed by the Russian Federation's Press and Information Ministry.

Over the last few weeks, intelligence officials have raised concerns privately with RAW STORY about preparations for a strike. None has identified a date or said for a fact that a strike would occur in April.

American commanders will be ready to carry out the attack in early April, but it will be up to the country's political leadership to decide if and when to attack, RIA Novosti's source said.

"The source said the Pentagon could decide to conduct ground operations as well after assessing the damage done to the Iranian forces by its possible missile strikes and analyzing the political situation in the country following the attacks," RIA Novosti asserted. "A senior Russian security official cited military intelligence earlier as saying U.S. Armed Forces had recently intensified training for air and ground operations against Iran."

"The Pentagon has drafted a highly effective plan that will allow the Americans to bring Iran to its knees at minimal cost," RIA Novosti's official said.

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

"I have no doubt there will be an operation, or rather an aggressive action against Iran," Ivashov said.

The report continues: "A new U.S. 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 U.S. is also sending Patriot anti-missile systems to the region."

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently said he was optimistic about the crisis and didn't forsee military action, according to the report.

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

READ THE FULL RIA Novosti ATICLE HERE.