General Mohammad Ali Jafari, chief of Iran's
elite Revolutionary Guards, has issued a new warning against Israel not to attack it, saying the country is well within range of its missiles, the Iranian Jam-e Jam newspaper reported on Saturday.
"This country (Israel) is completely within the range of the Islamic republic's missiles. Our missile power and capability are such that the Zionist regime, despite all its abilities, cannot confront it," he said.
"There is the possibility that by attacking Iranian nuclear sites the enemy wants to delay our nuclear activities, but any interruption would be very short since Iranian scientific ability is different from that of Syria and
Despite his threats, the Iranian general ascribed a certain significance to Israel's potential for attacking his country, without which, he said, the US would not be able to carry out its warnings. "The US needs Israel," he said. "They may claim the US could attack Iran independently, but we're certain the US couldn't do it without Israel's cooperation."
Jafari also said Iran would impose controls on shipping in the vital Gulf oil transit route if the Islamic Republic came under attack. "Naturally every country under attack by an enemy uses all its capacity and opportunities to confront the enemy. Regarding the main route for exiting energy, Iran will definitely act to impose control on the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz," he said.
Iranian officials have in the past sent mixed signals about whether the country would use oil as a weapon in any confrontation. "If there is a confrontation between us and the enemy from outside the region, definitely the scope will reach the oil issue," Jafari said. "After this action the oil price will rise very considerably and this is among the factors deterring the enemies."
Recently an increasing amount of reports have indicated that senior Israeli officials are promoting military action against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton claimed Israel would attack Iran's nuclear facilities if Senator Barack Obama was to win the upcoming presidential elections.
Bolton explained the Air Force (IAF) would attack during the interim between the November 4 elections and the inauguration of the newly elected president on January 20, 2009, while President George W. Bush was still in the White House.
However diplomats in Washington say Israel prefers a diplomatic solution achieved by economic sanctions. They claim this is the reason the White House is considering establishing a US Interest Section in Tehran similar to the one established in the Cuban capital, Havana.
Dudi Cohen and Reuters contributed to this report