Iran military head warns of 'heavy damage' should Israel attack
Tehran responds to recent reports of Israeli leaders' efforts to gain support for an attack on Iran's nuclear development sites; U.S. State Department says shares 'a deep concern with Israel about the direction Iran is taking.'
Iran's military chief warned Wednesday that an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear development sites will come at a heavy price, according to the Iranian ISNA news agency.
Responding to reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to gain a majority in the cabinet for an attack on Iran, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff of Iran's armed forces, Hassan Firouzabadi, warned both Israel and the U.S. against such a move.
"The U.S. officials know that the Zionist regime's military attack against Iran will inflict heavy damages to the U.S. seriously as well as the Zionist regime," ISNA quoted Firouzabadi.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland commented on the possible Israeli strike against Iran on Wednesday, saying "I'm not going to comment on stray press reports out of Israel. I'm going to send you to the Israeli government for its views on these things.”
“We remain committed to Israel's security. We and Israel share a deep concern about the direction that Iran is taking,” she added.
“We continue to work with Israel, with the international community to speak clearly with regard to Iran's nuclear obligations. And you know where we are on this, that Iran has got to take the necessary steps established by the international community to come back into compliance with its obligations. We are focused with Israel; we are focused with our other international partners on getting Iran to comply with the IAEA, to increase the international pressure for Iran to comply. And that's the focus of our activity," she said.
Haaretz reported Wednesday that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have been trying to push for an Israeli attack on Iran in the cabinet. They recently persuaded Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who previously objected to attacking Iran, to support such a move.
Senior ministers and diplomats said the International Atomic Energy Agency's report, due to be released on November 8, will have a decisive effect on the decisions Israel makes.
The commotion regarding Iran was sparked by journalist Nahum Barnea's column in Yedioth Ahronoth last Friday. Barnea's concerned tone and his editors' decision to run the column under the main headline ("Atomic Pressure" ) repositioned the debate on Iran from closed rooms to the media's front pages.
Reporters could suddenly ask the prime minister and defense minister whether they intend to attack Iran in the near future and the political scene went haywire.
Western intelligence officials agree that Iran is forging ahead with its nuclear program. Intelligence services now say it will take Iran two or three years to get the bomb once it decides to (it hasn't made the decision yet ).
According to Western experts' analyses, an attack on Iran in winter is almost impossible, because the thick clouds would obstruct the Israel Air Force's performance.
קראו כתבה זו בעברית: הרמטכ"ל האיראני: לתקיפה ישראלית יהיו השלכות חמורות