Iran: We can hit anywhere in Israel

By Aaron Klein

A senior Iranian military official told reporters yesterday Israel and the United States would not dare attack Iran since it could strike back anywhere in Israel and against U.S. military installations in the Middle East with its latest missiles.

“The entire Zionist territory, including its nuclear facilities and atomic arsenal, are currently within range of Iran’s advanced missiles,” the ISNA students news agency quoted Yadollah Javani, head of the Revolutionary Guards political bureau, as saying.

“Therefore, neither the Zionist regime nor America will carry out its threats” against Iran, he said. An attack on Iran “could only be carried out by angry or stupid people. For that reason, officials of the Islamic Republic must always be prepared to counter possible military threats,” Javani said in a statement, ISNA reported.

Iranian officials have made a point of highlighting the Islamic state’s military capabilities in recent weeks in response to some media reports that Israeli or U.S. warplanes could try to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities in air strikes.

Iran last week said it carried out a successful test firing of an upgraded version of its Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile. Military experts said the unmodified Shahab-3 was already capable of striking Israel or U.S. bases in the Gulf.

“Such statements by Iran only serve to demonstrate the need for Israel to maintain and further develop defensive systems such as the Arrow II,” a senior Israeli defense source said Sunday. “It appears that Iran is rattling its saber for fear of a pre-emptive strike by Israel or the United States – however grounded in fact such fears are or are not,” the source said.

Israel’s Arrow missile-defense system, designed to counter threats such as the Shahab-3, passed its first live test last month by downing a Scud missile off the coast of California.

Israeli officials say they plan further tests in the near future against threats which more closely resemble the Shahab-3.

Israeli warplanes successfully destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981.

Israel has recently conducted military exercises for a pre-emptive strike against several of Iran’s nuclear power facilities and is ready to attack if Russia supplies Iran with rods for enriching uranium.

An Israeli defense source said “Israel will on no account permit Iranian reactors – especially the one being built in Bushehr with Russian help – to go critical.”

The source also said any strike on Iran’s reactors would probably be carried out by long-range F-15I jets, flying over Turkey, with simultaneous operations by commandos on the ground.

Russia is expected to deliver the enriching rods, currently being stored at a Russian port, late next year after a dispute over financial terms is resolved.

“If the worst comes to the worst and international efforts fail,” the source said, “we are very confident we’ll be able to demolish the ayatollah’s nuclear aspirations in one go.”