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Key Iran Military Adviser Says U.S. Forces Very Vulnerable In Region

By Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL

In the case of a military attack, Iran would strike back at its enemies with equal force and with reciprocal levels of damage, according to a key military adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Yahya Rahim Safavi is a senior military adviser to the supreme leader.

“We don’t have direct access to U.S. territory, but the Americans have a number of bases and interests in the region. The Americans have more than 20 bases and 100,000 forces in the region, they can all be threatened by Iran. The Americans know it very well,“ said Yahya Rahim Safavi, who added that U.S. forces in the Middle East are “very vulnerable.”

Safavi, a former commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), delivered the tough warning in an interview with the Fars news agency, which is affiliated with the IRGC. He said that in the case of a military strike against Iran by Israel, there is a high probability that the Lebanese Hizballah would react.

“I know [Hizballah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah] as a soldier of [Iran’s supreme leader]. We don’t have any limitations...and our long-range missiles can confront Israel effectively. There is no place in Israel that is not within the range of our missiles,“ Safavi said.

He also said that if Israel launches strikes against Iran, in the first two weeks, 1 million Jews would flee from the Jewish state.

However, Major General Safavi said that he believes Iran does not face a “significant military threat” in the current year. He said that the economic situation in the United States and Israel is the reason why those countries wouldn't start a new war in the region. If the United States and Israel did launch a war, Safavi said that its end would not be under their control but in the hands of the Islamic Republic.

Safavi also accused Iran’s “enemies” of trying to promote the idea that the country is under the threat of an imminent military attack.

Safavi's comments are consistent with statements made by Khamenei in March, where the supreme leader said that in the face of aggression Iran would retaliate on the same level. Khamenei also said that Iran does not have nuclear weapons and has no intention of producing them.

Safavi, who is said to be very close and loyal to Khamenei, praised the Iranian leader for what he described as his “brilliant” fatwas against nuclear and chemical weapons, in which he said Khamenei had declared weapons of mass destruction haram, or anti-Islamic.

Safavi has been blacklisted by the United Nations and the U.S. over his alleged involvement in Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Copyright (c) 2012 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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