McNair Paper 41, Radical Responses to Radical Regimes: Evaluating Preemptive Counter-Proliferation, May 1995

Institute for National Strategic Studies


McNair Paper Number 41, Radical Responses to Radical Regimes: Evaluating Preemptive Counter-Proliferation, May 1995

Iraq Destroys Iran's Bushehr Reactor

In the last years of the Iran-Iraq War, well after the June 1981 destruction of the Osirak reactor by the Israelis, Saddam Hussein attempted and eventually succeeded in his own PCP strikes against the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr.

Iraqi warplanes first struck the Bushehr reactor on March 24, 1984, inflicting light damage. Two more Iraqi air strikes took place in 1985, one in 1986, two in 1987, and a final raid occured in 1988. (Note 55) These seven raids destroyed most of the known Iranian capability to produce special nuclear materials. No ballistic missiles landed on nuclear sites, although this was the first war in history where both sides exchanged ballistic missile attacks.

Apparently, Iraq was no more eager to face an Iranian atomic bomb than Israel had been to confront Iraqi nuclear weapons.

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