Iran warns Israeli attack on nuclear installations will lead to Israel´s collapse (AP) Associated Press) ALI AKBAR DAREINI TEHRAN, IRAN 02/25/12 2:38 p.m. EST)
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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) ó Iran´s defense minister warned that an Israeli
attack on the Islamic Republic will lead to the collapse of the
Jewish state, state television reported Saturday, in one of the
strongest statements from Iran indicating it would retaliate should
Israel attack its nuclear facilities.
Israel has recently stepped up its verbal threats that it could
attack Iran´s nuclear facilities. The U.S., Israel and many West
nations fear that Tehran is trying to build nuclear weapons, while
Iran insists its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes
such as producing energy.
Iranian Defense Minister Gen. Ahmad Vahidi on Saturday cautioned
Israel against attacking Iran.
"A military attack by the Zionist regime will undoubtedly lead to the
collapse of this regime," Vahidi was quoted as saying by Iran´s state-
run Press TV. He did not say what type of action Iran would take in
such a scenario.
Some Israeli officials have said the Jewish state must act by the
summer if it wants to effectively halt Iran´s program because Tehran
is moving more of its nuclear installations deep underground, where
Israeli bombs can´t reach them.
Iran has spread its nuclear facilities across the vast country and
has built key portions underground to protect them from possible
The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report Friday that
Iran has ramped up production of higher-grade enriched uranium in
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement
Saturday that the report "constitutes additional proof that Israel´s
assessments are correct" and that Tehran´s nuclear program is moving
Israel views Iran as an existential threat, citing frequent calls by
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israel´s destruction, Iran´s
support for violent anti-Israel militant groups and its long range
Israel has shown in the past that it is willing to take unilateral
action if it feels justified. In 1981, the Israeli air force
destroyed an unfinished Iraqi nuclear reactor. And in 2007, Israeli
warplanes are believed to have destroyed a target that foreign
experts think was an unfinished nuclear reactor in Syria.
Iran has warned in the past that Tehran would respond to an attack
against it by pounding Israel with missiles. It could also use its
proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas, to launch rockets at the Jewish state,
and cause global oil prices to spike by striking targets in the Gulf.
Iran´s arsenal already boasts missiles with a range of about 1,250
miles (2,000 kilometers) that were specifically designed for Israel
and U.S. targets in the Gulf. The two missiles in Iran´s possession
that have such a range are the Shahab-3 and the Sajjil.
Iran´s military leaders say the Tehran possesses the technology to
manufacture missiles with a range greater than 1,250 miles, but they
say they don´t feel the need to do so.
The Revolutionary Guard, which is Iran´s most powerful military force
and in charge of the country´s missile program, unveiled underground
smart missile silos last year, claiming that medium- and long-range
missiles stored in them are ready to launch if Iran is attacked.
The silos are widely viewed as a strategic asset for Iran in the
event of a U.S. or Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities because
it greatly reduces the time for Iran to respond to strikes. (© 2012
The Associated Press 02/25/12)
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