Photo: Reuters
Ahmadinejad with senior Iranian army officers
Photo: Reuters
Iranian general: Israel will be eliminated if it attacks
'We are highly motivated to protect our country's borders and have the ability to deal heavy blows to the aggressors', deputy commander-in-chief Ashtiani tells reporters in Tehran

Iran will eliminate Israel from "the scene of the universe" if it launches a military attack on the Islamic state, a senior army commander was quoted as saying during a press conference in Tehran on Tuesday.


Deputy commander-in-chief Mohammad Reza Ashtiani was echoing Iran's late founder of the 1979 Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini who said Israel should be wiped off the map.


"As the president (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) said, we are highly motivated to protect our country's borders," Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency quoted Ashtiani as saying.


'High level of preparedness'

Asked by reporters about the recent five-day home front security drill conducted by Israel, the Iranian commander said "it has nothing to do with us. We are not worried by Israeli maneuvers, but if Israel takes such action against the Islamic Republic of Iran, we will eliminate it from the global arena," General Ashtiani told the news conference.


Last week Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Khazaee, filed an official letter of complaint against National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer Friday, citing his threats to obliterate Iran should it attack Israel.


During the press conference deputy commander-in-chief Ashtiani also addressed the American presence in the Middle East, saying "We have the ability to deal heavy blows to the aggressors. In light of the Iranian army's high level of preparedness, no army is even contemplating a confrontation with us."


Ashtiani was speaking ahead of Iran's national army day on Thursday when a major military parade is expected in Tehran. He said that during the parade hundreds of army jets and helicopters will be on display.


On Monday An Iranian military jet on Monday crashed and burst into flames at Mehrabad airport in central Tehran, the city's main domestic air hub, but the crew ejected unscathed, emergency services said.


The Russian-made Sukhoi jet crashed on landing at the airport in southwestern Tehran while on a training mission. The fire brigade rushed to the scene after being alerted by the public.


The accident was the latest crash to hit the Iranian air force, which has to operate an ageing fleet hit by the effects of the blanket US trade embargo imposed after the 1979 Islamic revolution.


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