The Civilian Cost Of Bombing Iran

Andrew Sullivan —  Oct 4 2012 @ 5:44pm

Golnaz Esfandiari goes over a new report that indicates there would be nothing surgical about the civilian death toll:

[The study estimated there could be] up-to-70,000 people who would be killed or injured after being exposed to toxic plumes released as the result of such strikes [on sites like Isfahan’s uranium-conversion facility]. [The plumes] would reach the city within an hour. Such a scenario would mean that the people of Isfahan could experience a catastrophe similar to the gas leak in Bhopal or the nuclear meltdown at Chornobyl, says Khosrow Semnani, the author of the report, which is titled, “The Ayatollah’s Nuclear Gamble.”

“People’s skin could be burnt [when coming in contact with the plumes], they could become blind, their lung could be destroyed, their kidneys could be damaged, and in the future they could face other health problems such as skin cancer and [other forms] of cancer,” Semnani says. The report analyzed the impact of preemptive conventional strikes on four key nuclear sites: Isfahan’s uranium conversion facility; Natanz’s fuel-enrichment plant; Arak’s heavy-water plant; and Bushehr’s nuclear power plant. Workers at those sites — who include scientists, workers, support staff, and soldiers — would be among the first victims of a bombing campaign. The report estimates that the casualty rate at the sites would be close to 100 percent.