Iran says can destroy U.S. bases "minutes after attack" (REUTERS) By Marcus George DUBAI 07/04/12 10:35pm EDT)
Reuters News Service
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(Reuters) - Iran has threatened to destroy U.S. military bases across
the Middle East and target Israel within minutes of being attacked,
Iranian media reported on Wednesday, as Revolutionary Guards extended
test-firing of ballistic missiles into a third day.
Israel has hinted it may attack Iran if diplomacy fails to secure a
halt to its disputed nuclear energy program. The United States also
has mooted military action as a last-resort option but has frequently
nudged the Israelis to give time for intensified economic sanctions
to work against Iran.
"These bases are all in range of our missiles, and the occupied lands
(Israel) are also good targets for us," Amir Ali Haji Zadeh,
commander of the Revolutionary Guards aerospace division, was quoted
by Fars news agency as saying.
Haji Zadeh said 35 U.S. bases were within reach of Iran´s ballistic
missiles, the most advanced of which commanders have said could hit
targets 2,000 km (1,300 miles) away.
"We have thought of measures to set up bases and deploy missiles to
destroy all these bases in the early minutes after an attack," he
It was not clear where Haji Zadeh got his figures on U.S. bases in
the region. U.S. military facilities in the Middle East are located
in Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Turkey, and
it has around 10 bases further afield in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Defence analysts are often sceptical about what they describe as
exaggerated military assertions by Iran and say the country´s
military capability would be no match for sophisticated U.S. defence
Iranian media reported that this week´s three-day "Great Prophet 7"
tests involved dozens of missiles and domestically-built drones that
successfully destroyed simulated air bases.
Iran has upped its fiery anti-West rhetoric in response to the launch
on Sunday of a total European Union embargo on buying Iranian crude
oil - the latest calibrated increase in sanctions aimed at pushing
Tehran into curbing nuclear activity.
Revolutionary Guards commanders have also threatened to block the
Strait of Hormuz, through which more than a third of the world´s
seaborne oil trade passes out of the Gulf, in response to the
increasingly harsh sanctions.
Major powers have said they would tolerate no obstruction of
commercial traffic through the Strait, and the United States
maintains a formidable naval presence in the Gulf region.
Iran accused the West of disrupting global energy supplies and
creating regional instability and says its forces can dominate the
vital waterway to provide security.
"The policy of the Islamic Republic is based on maintaining security
in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz for all ships and oil
tankers," Iranian English-language state Press TV quoted the chairman
of parliament´s national security and foreign policy committee,
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, as saying.
The United States and its allies accuse Iran of using its nuclear
program to covertly develop all the components required to produce
nuclear weapons, accusations the Iranian officials have repeatedly
The world´s No. 5 oil exporter maintains that it is enriching uranium
for nuclear fuel only to generate more energy for a rapidly growing
population. (Editing by Mark Heinrich) (© Thomson Reuters 2012.
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