Iran: Attacking Us Will Expedite Israel's Last Breath

Iran FM issues warning after country completes test-fire of missiles reportedly capable of hitting Israel.

Haaretz Service
Agencies
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Haaretz Service
Agencies

Iran's defense minister warned Israel again on Monday against launching any attack on the Islamic Republic, shortly after Iran test fired missiles reportedly capable of hitting Israel.

"If this [Israeli attack] happens, which of course we do not foresee, its ultimate result would be that it expedites the Zionist regime's last breath," Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on state television.

Israeli leaders have repeatedly expressed alarm over Iran's nuclear ambitions and refused to rule out pre-emptive military action to prevent Iran from developing an atomic weapon.

Israel considers Iran a strategic threat due to its nuclear program, missile development and repeated references by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Israel's destruction.

Iran, which insists its nuclear work is for peaceful power generation, has often shrugged off the possibility of any such strikes.

Vahidi, a former commander in the elite Revolutionary Guards, said that in the event of an Israeli attack its "lifespan, which is today coming to an end, would be speeded up."

He added that the "Zionist regime", the term Iran uses for Israel, was on a "slope of destruction."

Iran says it tested missiles 'capable of hitting Israel'

Earlier Monday, Iran said it successfully completed two days of missile tests including the launching of its longest-range missiles, weapons capable of carrying a warhead and striking Israel, U.S. military bases in the Middle East, and parts of Europe.

Iranian state television said the powerful Revolutionary Guard, which controls Iran's missile program, successfully tested upgraded versions of the medium-range Shahab-3 and Sajjil missiles with can fly up to 2,000 kilometers. It was the third and final round of missile tests in two days of drills by the Guard.

The Sajjil-2 missile is Iran's most advanced two-stage surface-to-surface missile and is powered entirely by solid-fuel while the older Shahab-3 uses a combination of solid and liquid fuel in its most advanced form, which is also known as the Qadr-F1.

Solid fuel is seen as a technological breakthrough for any missile program as solid fuel increases the accuracy of missiles in reaching targets.

The war games come at a time when Iran is under intense international pressure to fully disclose its nuclear activities. They began Sunday, two days after the U.S. and its allies disclosed that Iran had been secretly developing an underground uranium enrichment facility and warned the country it must open the site to international inspection or face harsher international sanctions.

Gen. Hossein Salami, head of the Revolutionary Guard Air Force, said Sunday the drills were meant to show Tehran is prepared to crush any military threat from another country.

The revelation of Iran's previously secret nuclear site has given greater urgency to a key meeting on Thursday in Geneva between Iran and six major powers trying to stop its suspected nuclear weapons program.

Television footage on Monday showed a missile soaring into the sky in desert-like terrain, to shouts of Allahu Akbar ("God is Great").

Earlier in the day, state TV said Iran had test-fired other medium-range missiles, a day after the Islamic Republic's elite Revolutionary Guards launched short-range missiles as part of several days of war games.

State Press TV, Iran's English-language satellite channel, said the Guards had test-fired Shahab 1 and 2 missiles with a range of between 300 and 700 km.

"Iran has successfully test-fired medium-range Shahab missiles with multiple warheads," Press TV said, adding the drill was aimed at "boosting the armed forces' deterrent capabilities."

Iran conducts war games or tests weapons to show its resolve to counter any attack by foes like Israel or the United States.

"Iran flexes muscles ... The tests are likely to be seen as an act of defiance by Iran," daily Iran News said.

Iran tests missiles on eve of Yom Kippur

On Sunday, Iran test fired the short-range missiles, state television reported, on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

Gen. Salami told reporters on Sunday that Iran tested a multiple missile launcher for the first time.

Press TV showed pictures of at least two missiles being fired simultaneously and said they were from Sunday's drill in a desert in central Iran. In the clip, men could be heard shouting Allahu Akbar as the missiles were launched.

"The message of the war game for some arrogant countries which intend to intimidate is that we are able to give a proper, strong answer to their hostility quickly," the Web site of state television quoted Salami as saying. He said the missiles successfully hit their targets.

The missile maneuvers coincided with increased tension in Iran's nuclear dispute with the West, after last week's disclosure by the Islamic Republic that it is building a second uranium enrichment plant.

The United States, which along with Israel and other Western nations suspects Iran is seeking to build nuclear bombs, has previously expressed concern about Tehran's missile program. Iran insists its nuclear work is for peaceful power generation purposes.

On Yom Kippur in 1973, a coalition of Arab states launched a surprise attack on Israel. The ensuing conflict, the Yom Kippur War, was particularly costly and traumatic for Israel.

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