Israel is too weak to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, the French AFP news agency quoted Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as telling the Al-Jazeera network on Sunday, adding that Iran would act decisively against anyone who dared attempt a military strike against it.
Ahmadinejad's comments came a day after Iranian and Russian engineers began the weeklong operation of loading uranium fuel into the Bushehr nuclear power plant, a major milestone as Tehran forges ahead with its atomic program, despite UN sanctions.
Speaking to the Qatari-based satellite network in an interview translated from Farsi, Ahmadinejad reiterated the warning against a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, saying he rejected the "possibility of an attack by Israel."
"Israel is too weak to face up to Iran militarily," the Iranian president said, adding that Jerusalem did not have "the courage to do it... and I do not think its threat is serious."
Referring to the possibility of a U.S.-led strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, Ahmadinejad claimed "America is not interested in sparking a military confrontation," but vowed "decisive response" if Washington indeed went ahead with its threats military action.
"There are no logical reasons for the United States to carry out such an act," Ahmadinejad told Al-Jazeera.
"Do you believe an army that has been defeated by a small army in Iraq can enter into a war with a large and well trained army like the Iranian army?" he asked, referring to the insurgents in Iraq.
"The friendship of Iran is much better than its hostility," he said.
The Al-Jazeera interview came hours after a high-ranking officer in Iran's Revolutionary Guards told the semi-official Fars news agency that Iran's reaction to a possible U.S. military strike against its nuclear facilities would target American interests beyond the Middle East.
Speculating on the possibility of a U.S. strike against Iran's developing nuclear program, Deputy Revolutionary Guards Commander for Political Affairs Brigadier General Yadollah Javani said earlier Sunday that "if Americans make a strategic mistake and choose the military option against the Islamic Republic and our nation's interests, Iran will not confine its defense to the region."
"In case of any illogical move, the Islamic Republic's hands and advocates will be powerfully activated against the interests of the hegemonic system and U.S. bases outside the region," Javani told Fars.
Earlier this month, Javani had commented on the possibility of a U.S. strike of its nuclear facilities, saying that Iran would "give a crushing response to its enemies."
Turning his attention to Israel, Javani had that Iran did not believe its enemy was capable of attacking. Nonetheless, he said, Iran would be prepared in case that equation should change. "Iran never ignores its enemies. Hence, we have been increasing our defense and deterrence capabilities."
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