Iran Scoffs at US, Israeli Military Threats

A05072194.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- The Zionist regime lacks the diplomatic, economic and social ability to launch a wide-scale war, a senior military advisor to the Iranian supreme leader said here on Tuesday.

Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi’s remarks were made in response to threats made by Israel and the possibility that the Zionist regime would attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

He reiterated that the Islamic republic’s armed forces are “fully prepared” to push back any attack.

“Iran’s armed forces, including the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and 11 million members of the Basij (volunteer forces), are fully prepared to deal with any attack,” said Safavi, a former IRGC commander.

He conveyed another message to the Americans regarding Tehran’s plans to defend itself, saying that “the responsibility for defending the Persian Gulf has been turned over to the IRGC navy.”

Iran’s armed forces comprise of the regular army and the IRGC, both of which are under the command of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei.

The IRGC, which is formed of the three ground, naval and air forces, is mainly tasked with protecting border areas and defending the Islamic Republic against foreign and internal threats. The decision is expected to expand the IRGC’s control in the strategic Persian Gulf which is also a major route for global oil exports.

Addressing the possibility that the US will attack Iran, Safavi said, “There are 200,000 American soldiers stationed in the region, and in such a case they will be in serious danger. The Americans will not enter a conflict on a fourth front, in addition to the conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Georgia.

“The United States has instructed their forces that in light of the transfer of responsibility for the Persian Gulf’s defense to the IRGC, they must not approach the Iranian vessels under any circumstances.”

The General noted that “the Revolutionary Guards’ missiles are capable of covering the entire Persian Gulf and there is no vessel that can evade their shooting range.

The former IRGC commander said that the Islamic Republic armed forces have the entire Strait of Hormuz under control relying on their complete defensive power, which includes missile units as well as air, ground and naval forces.

The country’s armed forces have several times declared their alertness to confront any military invasion and give a decisive reply, as Israel and the United States have recently heightened their threats of military action against Iran.

Iran launched a three-day series of Air Force and missile-defense exercises throughout the country on Monday. The maneuver, dubbed Asemane Velayat was organized in response to US and Israel threats against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Tehran has conducted several high-profile war games this year, while promising a powerful retaliation in the event of any act of aggression against the country. The United States and Israel have consistently refused to rule out the possibility of military action against Iran over its refusal to halt its nuclear program.

In July, Iran successfully launched an upgraded Shahab-3 ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km (1,240 miles), and several missiles with a range of 350 kilometers (217 miles) as part of the Great Prophet III military exercise in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

Israel and its close ally the United States accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations. Both Washington and Tel Aviv possess advanced weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads.

Iran vehemently denies the charges, insisting that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

Speculation that Israel may bomb Iran rose after a military exercise by the Zionist regime earlier this year. In early June, Israel conducted a military maneuver over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in preparation, according to Pentagon officials, for an aerial bombardment of Iranian nuclear facilities.

Over 100 Israeli F-16s and F-15s partook in the exercise, which spanned some 900 miles, roughly the distance between their airfields and a nuclear enrichment facility in the central Iranian city of Natanz.

The United States has also always stressed that military action is among its main options on the table.

In response, Iran has warned it could close the strategic Strait of Hormoz if it became the target of a military attack over its nuclear program.

Strait of Hormoz, the entrance to the strategic Persian Gulf waterway, is a major oil shipping route.

Intensified threats by Tel Aviv and Washington of military action against Iran are in direct opposition to a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies which endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s nuclear plans and activities.

Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head – one in November and the other one in February – which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions or launch military attack on Iran seems to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran’s cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran’s nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

Meantime, a recent study by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a prestigious American think tank, found that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities “is unlikely” to delay the country’s program.

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