Iran’s Revolutionary Guards CORPS (IRGC) said yesterday that Iran would strike Israel’s nuclear facilities if the Jewish state attacked it, state TV 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 TV.
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-biggest oil exporter. They say Iran would respond to any attack by targeting US interests and Israel.
“We are not responsible for this regime and other enemies’ foolishness ... If they strike Iran, our answer will be firm and precise,” state TV quoted Jafari as saying.
The US, 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 program.
Israel, widely believed to be the Middle East’s only nuclear power, has repeatedly described Iran’s nuclear program as a threat to its existence. Iran refuses to recognize 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. “The Zionist regime is too small to threaten Iran.”
Military experts say Iran rarely reveals enough detail about its new military equipment to determine its military capabilities.
Israel has so far quietly acceded to Washington’s strategy of talking to Tehran about curtailing its sensitive nuclear work.
Israel believes that a multi-level missile shield underwritten by the US would protect the country against possible missile attacks.
Jafari said such a shield could only protect Israel “in a limited way.”
“But they will have no answer when Iran bombards them [and] sends a great number of its missiles,” he said.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in May that Iran had tested a missile that defense analysts say could hit Israel and US bases in the Gulf. Washington said the test 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 percent 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 early this month, seen as a signal to Iran of the long reach of its arsenal.
Jafari said Iran “was not scared” of Israel’s military capabilities.