The US has plans to provide thousands of advanced ''bunker-busting'' bombs to the United Arab Emirates as part of efforts to contain Iran, The Wall Street Journal says.
The munitions were designed to demolish bunkers, tunnels and other thickly reinforced targets, making them well suited for a potential strike on Iran's underground nuclear facilities, the newspaper said this Friday.
The proposed package to the UAE - said to include up to 4900 joint direct attack munitions, or JDAMs, and other weapons - is to be formally presented to Congress ''in the coming days'', the paper said.
In recent years, the Obama administration has moved to shore up Arab Gulf countries with major arms deals, part of a policy of strengthening regional allies to increase pressure on Tehran.
The long-running dispute over Iran's nuclear program flared last week when the International Atomic Energy Agency said it had ''credible'' evidence that Iran was trying to build nuclear warheads for its medium-range missiles.
Iran has always denied it is seeking atomic weapons, insisting that its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
The US and Israel have in turn warned that all options are on the table for dealing with the issue, including military action.
The US Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, on Thursday warned of the risks from any military strike on Iran, saying it could have a ''serious impact'' on the region.
Mr Panetta said a military strike on suspected Iranian nuclear sites would only delay Tehran's nuclear program for about three years.
The United Nations has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran since 2006, and the US and European Union have imposed their own restrictions.
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