Iranian Official Says Iran Will Strike U.S., Israel if Attacked

Deputy Interior Minister says Iran can 'fire tens of thousands of missiles,' strike U.S., Israel anywhere.

News Agencies
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Iran will strike U.S. interests around the world and Israel if attacked over its disputed nuclear program, a senior official was quoted on Thursday by the official IRNA news agency as saying.

"Nowhere would be safe for America with (Iran's) long-range missiles ... we can fire tens of thousands of missiles every day," said Mohammad Baqer Zolghadr, the deputy interior minister in security affairs.

'With long-range missiles Iran can also threaten Israel as America's ally.' Iran says its Shahab-3 missile with a range of 1,250 miles (2,000 km) is capable of hitting Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and European Union foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana on Thursday described their latest set of meetings as "positive" with both sides saying they were working towards a diplomatic solution to defuse the nuclear dispute.

The West has called for a halt to Iranian research on uranium which Western countries and Israel fear is a nuclear weapons program but which Iran says is a civilian power generation project.

Solana described the two-day talks in the Turkish capital of Ankara not as the beginning of formal negotiations but as preliminary talks and that they will prepare for further talks in the future.

"We have not made miracles but we have tried to move the dossier a little bit forward," Solana said at a joint press conference with Larijani and Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul.

Both Solana and Larijani said the fact that they were even discussing the issue was a very important development.

"The holding of this meeting is bringing the views and ideas of both sides closer to one another," Larijani said.

Larijani said he believed the two sides were approaching a common point of view.

"(Our position is) to have the issues be settled through negotiations. The issue could be settled based on law and international regulations," Larijani said.

Solano and Larijani were to continue negotiating on Thursday before setting up a further meeting sometime in the future.

The EU is currently engaged in a two-track bid to defuse the nuclear dispute with Iran. While backing Solana's meeting with Larijani, the bloc's foreign ministers Monday also agreed to tougher sanctions against Tehran.

Larijani was accompanied by Javad Vaeidi, a deputy in Iran's National Security Council, Mohammad Saeidi, deputy chief of Iranian Atomic Energy Organization and Abbas Araqchi, deputy foreign minister.

Larijani said on Thursday Iran and the European Union were approaching "a united view" in some areas of their nuclear talks.

"I think in some areas we are approaching a united view. This is to say that the best approach is to settle all the issues through negotiations based on law and international rules and regulations," Larijani told a joint news conference with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana in Ankara before the two men resumed their talks on the nuclear issue.

Solana, however, said he did not expect a "great breakthrough" to come from the talks.



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