Iran wows to hit Israel's atomic sites if attacked
Saturday 25 July 2009
Iran's Revolutionary Guards said today that it would strike Israel's nuclear facilities if Tel Aviv attacked the Islamic state, state television reported.
"If the Zionist Regime (Israel) attacks Iran, we will surely strike its nuclear facilities with our missile capabilities," Mohammad Ali Jafari, Guards commander-in-chief, told Iran's Arabic language al-Alam television.
The Revolutionary Guards are the ideologically driven wing of Iran's military with air, sea and land capabilities, and a separate command structure to regular units.
Iranian leaders often dismiss talk of a possible strike by Israel, saying it is not in a position to threaten Iran, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter. They say Iran would respond to any attack by targeting U.S. interests and Israel.
The United States, Israel and their Western allies fear that Iran is enriching uranium with the aim of producing nuclear weapons and have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the row.
Iran says it is pursuing only a nuclear power generation programme.
Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East's only nuclear power, has repeatedly described Iran's nuclear programme as a threat to its existence. Iran refuses to recognise Israel.
Jafari said Israel was entirely within the reach of Iran.
"Our missile capability puts all of the Zionist regime (Israel) within Iran's reach to attack," Jafari said. Military experts say Iran rarely reveals enough detail about its new military equipment to determine its military capabilities.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in May Iran had tested a missile that defence analysts say could hit Israel and US bases in the Gulf, a test that Washington said was a "step in the wrong direction" to remove concerns over its nuclear work.
Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz, conduit for about 40 per cent of globally traded oil, if it is attacked. The US military says it will prevent any such action.
Military experts say Iranian missiles often draw on technology from China, North Korea and other countries.
Israel has three German-made submarines that are widely assumed to carry nuclear missiles.
One of the submarines sailed from the Mediterranean, via the Suez Canal, to Israel's Red Sea port of Eilat in early July, seen as a signal to Iran of the long reach of its arsenal.
Jafari said Iran "was not scared" of Israel's military capabilities.
"It is part of the psychological war that the West has launched against Iran," Jafari said.
Ahmadinejad, who has called for Israel to be wiped off the map, was re-elected in a disputed 12 June presidential vote that stirred the largest display of internal unrest in the country since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
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