Zolnour. Repeating himself

Iran cleric: Tehran will strike Israel if attacked

Top official repeats warning issued six months ago. Iranian Foreign Ministry calls on Russia not to bow to Western pressure and back out of agreement to deliver air defense system to Tehran

A top official with Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard reiterated on Tuesday his warning that Tehran would strike archenemy Israel if the Jewish state and its Western allies attacked Iran.


The remarks by cleric Mojtaba Zolnour were not unusual. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has since 2005 often called for Israel's destruction and predicted the demise for the Jewish state.


"The enemies know if they fire a missile toward Iran, the dust from explosions by Iranian missiles will rise in Tel Aviv" even as "their missile is still in the air," Zolnour was quoted as saying by the semiofficial Fars news agency.


The same cleric issued a similar warning in October, when he said Iran would "blow up the heart of Israel" if the United States or the Jewish state attacked it first.


Tehran has missiles with a range of up to 1,250 miles (2,000 km), making Israel well within their reach.


Iran and the West are at odds over the country's controversial nuclear program, which the US and some of its allies fear is a cover to develop nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charges, saying the program is geared toward generating electricity, not a bomb.


US President Barack Obama has said that six world powers dealing with Iran's nuclear program will develop a package of serious new punitive measures in the coming weeks over Tehran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment.


For its part, Israel has said it would not rule out any option – including a military one – against Iran's nuclear program.


Iran is also concerned Russia will bow to Western pressure and back out of an agreement to deliver an air defense system to Tehran that would significantly boost Iran's defense capabilities.


Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday that "Iran expects Russia not to be affected by the political pressure from other countries" over the 2007 deal on the S-300 air defense system. Russian officials say none of the missiles has been delivered because of technical glitches.


The S-300 missiles are capable of shooting down aircraft, cruise missiles and ballistic missile warheads at ranges of over 90 miles (145 km) and at altitudes of about 90,000 feet (about 27,000 meters).


Russia signed an agreement to supply Iran with the advanced missile system in 2007, but has yet to deliver the actual missiles. Commentators have said Israeli and American pressure has been the cause for delay.


Dudi Cohen contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 04.06.10, 15:19
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