More Iranian saber-rattling. “Official says Iran would destroy Israel if attacked,” by Hashem Kalantari and Zahra Hosseinian for Reuters, July 12:
Iran would destroy Israel and 32 U.S. military bases in the Middle East if the Islamic Republic was attacked over its disputed nuclear programme, a senior Iranian official was quoted as saying on Saturday.
The Islamic Republic and Israel have been embroiled in an escalating war of words in recent weeks, increasing speculation of military confrontation and helping to send global oil prices to record highs.
Iranian missile tests this week further stoked tension and rattled financial markets.
“The U.S. knows full well that with the smallest move against Iran, Israel and 32 U.S. military bases in the region would not be out of the reach of our missiles and would be destroyed,” the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Mojtaba Zolnour as saying in a speech.
Zolnour is the deputy of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
Israel staged an air force exercise last month that sparked speculation about a possible assault on Iranian nuclear sites.
Israel, long assumed to have its own atomic arsenal, has sworn to prevent Iran from emerging as a nuclear-armed power.
Washington has said it wants a diplomatic end to the row but has not ruled out military action should that fail.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has close ties with Iranian leaders, said on Saturday he wanted a political solution to the dispute, adding: “To the best of our knowledge, Iran has no intention of trying to obtain nuclear weapons.”
Could the Alawi Bashar be practicing taqiyya to protect his fellow Shias of Iran””taqiyya being almost innate to Shias of all varieties?
He made his comments at a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy after talks in Paris.
Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil exporter, has vowed to strike back at Israel, U.S. interests and shipping in the region if it is attacked, threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, conduit for about 40 percent of globally traded oil.
On Wednesday, Iran said it tested nine long- and medium-range missiles, including one which it says could reach Israel and U.S. bases.