Iran would take pre-emptive action against its enemies if it felt its national interests were endangered, the deputy head of the Islamic Republic's armed forces was quoted by a semi-official news agency as saying on Tuesday.
"Our strategy now is that if we feel our enemies want to endanger Iran's national interests, and want to decide to do that, we will act without waiting for their actions," Mohammad Hejazi told Fars news agency.
Iran is facing growing international pressure and isolation over its disputed nuclear activity. Expanded Western sanctions aim to block its economically vital oil exports and Tehran has said it could retaliate by shutting the Strait of Hormuz shipping lane vital to global energy supplies.
Earlier Tuesday, Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and other senior officials had protested over recent comments by senior American officials critical of any Israeli attack on Iran, saying this criticism "served Iran's interests."
A senior Israeli official said Netanyahu and Barak told Tom Donilon, U.S. national security adviser who has been in Israel this week, of their dissatisfaction with the interview given by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, to CNN on Sunday.
Dempsey said "I don't think a wise thing at this moment is for Israel to launch a military attack on Iran," and a strike "would be destabilizing" and "not prudent."
Dempsey said the United States has so far not been able to persuade Israel not to attack Iran. "I wouldn't suggest that we've persuaded them that our view is the correct view," he said.
The Israeli officials also objected to a number of briefings senior American officials gave American correspondents, who wrote in recent weeks about a possible Israeli attack in Iran.
The story that angered Netanyahu most was an NBC broadcast two weeks ago saying Israel would attack Iran's nuclear facilities with Jericho missiles, commando forces and F-151 jets.
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