“Ballistic missiles would be fired in masses against targets in Persian Gulf states and Israel,” one Foreign Ministry official said. “The objective would be to overwhelm US missile defense systems with dozens and maybe hundreds of missiles fired simultaneously at specific targets.”
The newspaper quotes a number of Iranian officials whose comments reflect Tehran's official line but who could not obtain permission to speak on the record at short notice.
According to the officials, Tehran’s primary targets would be US military installations and strategic targets in US-allied Arabian Gulf states, including oil depots, refineries, power plants and desalination facilities.
US warships would also face waves of surface-to-surface cruise missiles sent to overwhelm their countermeasures.
Iranian missile test last November (Photo: AFP)
One Iranian official with knowledge of the leadership’s national-security discussions said his country’s leaders anticipate that US forces will strike with no warning against the military’s command-and-control network, and have ordered ballistic- and cruise-missile battery crews to launch the retaliation plan within an hour after a US attack begins.
“The US will be as surprised with Iranian military capabilities as the Israelis were with Hizbullah in last summer’s war in Lebanon,” he said. “Most of our people are confident we would give the Americans hell and likely emerge victorious.”
Admiral Ali Shamkhani, a former Iranian defense minister, told Defense News that special targets would include Arabian Gulf states that help Washington to justify a strike. Shamkhani runs the Center of Strategic Studies, a think tank comprised of former senior foreign, defense and interior ministers who advise Ayatollah Ali Khameni, the country’s supreme leader.
“Allegations by some Arab gulf states that the Iranian nuclear program poses an environmental threat to the area and that it would spark a nuclear arms race are aimed at helping the US establish legitimacy for its anticipated aggression against Iran,” Shamkhani said.
US military action threatens Iran’s existence, he said, “but most of those who speak about the war option are well aware that Iran has the capability to face this choice.”
“Iran will open a freeway for terrorists from Afghanistan all the way to Lebanon, enabling the terrorists to strike in almost every country in the Middle East,” said the official with knowledge of national-security discussions.
He added that Iran currently bans such transits from Afghanistan, forcing them to take longer routes and risk capture in other countries. “This positive action would not continue if Iran is attacked by the US.”