Daily News & Analysis (Link) - AFP (November 11, 2006)
Iran’s armed forces on Saturday vowed to hit back against any military strike after a top Israeli official refused to rule out attacking the Islamic republic over its disputed nuclear programme.
“The armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran will firmly respond to any military and threatening move,” Brigader General Ali Fazli, spokesman for Iran’s latest round of 10-day war games, said.
“The Iranian armed forces, which realise the different threats, have the capacity and capability to confront them,” he added.
Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Ephraim Sneh had told the Jerusalem Post on Friday he considered military action against Iran as a “last resort. But even the last resort is sometimes the only resort.”
His comments were seen as the clearest statement yet by an Israeli official that military strikes against Iran over its refusal to halt sensitive nuclear activities were not excluded.
“The enemies of the Islamic republic are too weak and too abject to be a threat for a powerful Iran,” added Fazli, who did not specify what the nature of Iran’s response would be.
Iran has been showing off its military prowess in recent days in the 10-day “Great Prophet II” war games, which have seen its fire its Shahab-3 longer range missile for the first time in manoeuvres and test-fire new weaponry.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, complained to Secretary General Kofi Annan and the Security Council over Israel’s “threats” on Friday following the comments by Sneh.
“The letter, underlining threats from Sneh and other Israeli officials, regards these statements as illegal, ridiculous and a sign of the Zionist regime’s criminal policies and terrorist intentions,” the IRNA state agency said.
“The Security Council should act in the face of such statements and the Israeli regime’s terrorist acts. As a first step it should at least promptly condemn the Israeli regime’s threats against Tehran,” it said, quoting from the complaint. †