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Iranian Defense Minister Warns US and Israel of Preemptive Strikes

8/19/04 Source: Radio Farda Newsroom

Defense minister went beyond commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps by saying that the Islamic government could launch preventive strikes at US and Israeli installations in the region in order to prevent being struck. He said preventive strikes were not a monopoly of the US. IRGC commanders had threatend to strike Israel's nuclear reactor in response to Israel's possible strike on Bushehr nuclear power plant.

August 19, 2004 - Launching preemptive strikes in reaction to perceived threats was not a monopoly of the US, defense minister Ali Shamkhani said on Wednesday, raising the level of threat one notch above that of deputy commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Mohammad-Baqer Zolqadr, who said on Monday that the Islamic government may target Israel's nuclear reactor at Dimona in response to a possible Israeli strike on the Bushehr nuclear plant.

"We will not sit (with our arms folded) to wait for what others will do to us," Shamkhani said in an interview aired on the Arabic news channel al-Jazeera on Wednesday.

"Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly," he added.

"America is not the only one present in the region. We are also present, from Khost to Kandahar in Afghanistan; we are present in the Gulf and we can be present in Iraq," Shamkhani said, following earlier comments by Revolutionary Guards commanders.

"The entire Zionist territory including its nuclear establishments and atomic munitions are now within the range of Iran's advanced missiles," Islamic Revolutionary Commander Yadollah Javani said last Sunday, after the Revolutionary Guards announced a successful firing of the improved Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile.

The test firing came only a week after Israel successfully tested a new version of its Arrow missile, which is capable of targeting incoming missiles.

IRGC commanders, who run Iran's nuclear and defense programs, do not consider an Israeli attack likely.Deputy commander Zolqadr said "given the internal crises in the Zionist regime and its military, security and geographical vulnerability, Israel is not capable of attacking Iran and its threats are only propaganda."

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