WASHINGTON – A “secret” Iranian military handbook, American officials say, confirms that the Islamic Republic of Iran is including in its arsenal a plan to launch a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack on the American national grid system.
To carry out such an attack, from a high-altitude nuclear blast, would require Iran to have not only the missiles to launch such a device but also the technology to produce a nuclear explosion.
The revelation comes as the United States, along with the P5+1 countries that comprise the United Nations Security Council, is about to finalize negotiations over Iran’s nuclear development program.
There have been concerns raised that Iran still has the intention of making nuclear bombs using the technology in that program, and the negotiations may not do enough to prevent it.
It’s also an issue on which WND has reported for a decade, as long ago as 2005 when intelligence sources were quoted, saying, “Iran is not only covertly developing nuclear weapons, it is already testing ballistic missiles specifically designed to destroy America’s technical infrastructure, effectively neutralizing the world’s lone superpower.”
At that time, scientists, including President Reagan’s top science adviser, William R. Graham, said there was no other explanation for such tests than preparation for the deployment of electromagnetic pulse weapons – even one of which could knock out America’s critical electrical and technological infrastructure, effectively sending the continental U.S. back to the 19th century with a recovery time of months or years.
An also at the time, Sen. John Kyl, R-Ariz., warned, “A terrorist organization might have trouble putting a nuclear warhead ‘on target’ with a Scud, but it would be much easier to simply launch and detonate in the atmosphere. No need for the risk and difficulty of trying to smuggle a nuclear weapon over the border or hit a particular city. Just launch a cheap missile from a freighter in international waters – al-Qaida is believed to own about 80 such vessels – and make sure to get it a few miles in the air.”
In the latest development, the P5+1 countries – Great Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China plus Germany – have sought restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program to prevent that country from turning a program that reportedly is for medical and power production into a bomb factory.
Peter Vincent Pry, who is executive director of a congressional advisory group called the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, raised the alarm as the agreement is about to be finalized.
He said U.S. military officials have confirmed such an Iranian plan.
“Iranian military documents describe such a scenario – including a recently translated Iranian military textbook that endorses nuclear EMP attack against the United States,” Pry wrote in a recent column in Israel’s main online media network, Aruz Sheva.
“Iran with a small number of nuclear missiles can by EMP attack threaten the existence of modernity and be the death knell of Western principles of international law, humanism and freedom,” he said.
“For the first time in history, a failed state like Iran could destroy the most successful societies on Earth and convert an evolving benign world order into world chaos.”
WND could not immediately independently confirm the military documents cited by Pry.
Those experts confirmed there would be no warning and that the U.S. missile defense system would not be able to respond in time to prevent the high altitude nuclear explosion that could be launched from one of those ships.
“It shows they could put a weapon on a boat or freighter, and if Iran has ballistic missiles it could put it anywhere on the U.S. coast,” John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a senior fellow at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, said at the time.
The Iranian Fars News Agency had announced that the fleet would undertake a three-month mission and would consist of a destroyer and a helicopter-carrying vessel.
This week’s revelation comes as Israel has just re-elected Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister. He recently warned a joint session of Congress about reaching any nuclear agreement with Iran.
According to sources, the textbook refers to an EMP attack on some 20 locations in the United States.
Pry pointed out that Iran, in fact, would not need an intercontinental missile to launch a high-altitude EMP attack that could knock out the U.S. national grid system and the other life-sustaining critical infrastructures that depend on the grid to function.
He said Iran could deliver a nuclear attack from a ship just off the U.S. East Coast either by a missile or by launching into orbit around the Earth a satellite which, in effect, would be a nuclear device.
Critical infrastructures that depend on the already vulnerable U.S. national grid system include communications, water and food delivery systems, financial and banking systems, transportation, regulation of the nearly million miles of oil and natural gas pipelines that traverse the U.S. and the myriad of modern conveniences that function by automated control systems that often are located in remote areas of the country.
Pry said it would cost only about $2 billion to harden the grid from such an attack or a direct hit from solar flares – which could produce similar damage and is occurring now. He added that protection of the grid could include the installation of devices like geomagnetically induced current, or GICs, blockers.
Pry’s warning about the Iranian military textbook coincided with a threat from Gen. Hassan Firouzabad, the Iranian armed forces chief of staff.
“We are ready for the decisive battle against the U.S. and the Zionist regime,” Firouzabad recently told the Iranian Fars News Agency.
“Iran armed with nuclear missiles poses an unprecedented threat to global civilization,” Pry said.
In 2012, when Iran was reporting the successful testing of a variety of missiles, including those that could strike targets 1,250 miles away, WND reported that the rogue nation also was working on an intercontinental ballistic missiles under the guise of it is space program.
One nuclear warhead detonated at high-altitude over the United States would black out the national electric grid and other life-sustaining critical infrastructures for months or years by means of an electromagnetic pulse, Pry said.
He said the chaos could result in the deaths of 90 percent of the American population.
Such an attack would not be exclusive to the United States.
Dr. Emily Landau, director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, said Iran also could target Israel.
Landau, who is an expert on Iran’s nuclear program, said Iran could very well be planning an EMP attack on Israel, based on statements from high-level Iranian officials.
She said Iran already has the missiles but only needs the nuclear device to launch an EMP that would be capable of destroying Israel’s electrical grid.
“Iran doesn’t have a nuclear bomb yet, and hopefully it won’t have one, but if it does manage to build a bomb, an EMP attack is a real possibility,” Landau said.
Pry went so far as to say Iran is actively preparing for an EMP attack.
Tehran has undertaken offshore exercises using Scud missiles fired and positioned in such a way that they exploded in the atmosphere, exactly the method you would use for an EMP attack, he said.
“(Iran) could even marshal a major Islamic invasion of Israel, massacring the Jews and ushering in the era of the 12th imam, the Islamic messiah, whose arrival Iran’s leadership believes is imminent,” Pry said.
WND also reported at the time that a 2004 report by a congressional commission found “several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapons-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP). A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication.”
“EMP is one of a small number of threats that can hold our society at risk of catastrophic consequences,” the report said. “EMP will cover the wide geographic region within line of sight to the nuclear weapon. It has the capability to produce significant damage to critical infrastructures and thus to the very fabric of U.S. society, as well as to the ability of the United States and Western nations to project influence and military power.”
Some individual states have adopted various requirements to minimize the damage from such an attack, but federal legislation has not yet succeeded in setting those standards.
It’s the SHIELD Act, from Rep. Trent Franks, that has been introduced several times.
The Shield Act stands for Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage. It calls on industry and government to develop, promulgate and implement standards and processes that are necessary to address the electric grid’s current vulnerabilities and shortcomings that would be affected by an EMP.