The deputy commander of Iran's air force said Wednesday that plans have been drawn up to bomb Israel if the Jewish state attacks Iran, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.
The announcement comes amid rising tensions in the region with the United States calling for a new round of UN.
Sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program and Israeli planes having recently overflown, and perhaps even attacked, Iranian ally Syria's territory.
"We have drawn up a plan to strike back at Israel with our bombers if this regime (Israel) makes a silly mistake," deputy air force chief, Gen. Mohammad Alavi was quoted as telling Fars in an interview.
The Fars news agency confirmed the quotes when contacted by the Associated Press, but would not provide a tape of the interview. The Iranian Air Force, for its part, had no immediate comment on the interview.
Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammed Najjar, however, did tell the official IRNA news agency Wednesday that "we keep various options open to respond to threats ... We will make use of them if required."
'All of Israel within missile range'Iran has threatened in the past that Israel would be Iran's first retaliatory target if attacked by the United States. But Alavi's comments were the first word of specific contingency plans for striking back on Israel.
Many in the region fear Israel could launch airstrikes on Iranian nuclear facilities to prevent it from building a nuclear weapon.
Alavi also warned that Israel was within Iran's medium-range missiles and its fighter bombers, while maintaining that Israel was not strong enough to launch an aerial attack against Iran.
"The whole territory of this regime is within the range of our missiles. Moreover, we can attack their territory with our fighter bombers as a response to any attack," the general said.
An upgraded version of Iran's Shahab-3 missile has a range of 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) capable of reaching Israel and carrying a nuclear warhead.
"One of the issues enemies make publicity about is their cruise missiles. Now, we possess the necessary systems to confront them (cruise missiles)," Alavi was quoted as saying.