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News number: 8708160820

19:33 | 2008-11-06


نسخه چاپي ارسال به دوستان

Senior Military Official Warns US Military to Avoid Iran's Airspace

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian army warned US military forces in Iraq to steer clear of its borders with Iraq, saying that it would respond to any violation of its air space.

Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri, a deputy commander of the General Staff of Iran's Armed Forces, told FNA that US planes and helicopters may, "intentionally or unintentionally, violate our country's air space".

If such an incident were to occur, Iran "would confront them", Jazayeri warned, adding, "We therefore advise the Americans to be observant and to push their flight paths farther than the borderline so that such a mistake does not happen."

The warning comes less than two weeks after a US air raid into a Syrian village bordering Iraq on 26 October, which killed eight people.

Iran strongly condemned that attack as a violation of Syria's sovereignty, and sent its foreign minister to Damascus last Monday in a show of support.

The United States and Israel have not ruled out a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities in a bid to foil Tehran's progress in the field of civilian nuclear technology.

Israel and its close ally the United States accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, while they have never presented any corroborative document to substantiate their allegations. Both Washington and Tel Aviv possess advanced weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear warheads.

Iran vehemently denies the charges, insisting that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Tehran stresses that the country has always pursued a civilian path to provide power to the growing number of Iranian population, whose fossil fuel would eventually run dry.

Speculation that Israel could bomb Iran has mounted since a big Israeli air drill in June. In the first week of June, 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters reportedly took part in an exercise over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece, which was interpreted as a dress rehearsal for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear installations.

Iran has, in return, warned that it would target Israel and its worldwide interests in case it comes under attack by the Tel Aviv.

Iran has also warned it could close the strategic Strait of Hormoz if it became the target of a military attack over its nuclear program.

An estimated 40 percent of the world's oil supply passes through the waterway.

But the US military has stated that it would not allow Iran to close the Strait.

Speaking in Kuwait yesterday, the commander of NATO's naval forces reiterated that the waterway cannot be blocked.

Iran's threats to close the Strait of Hormoz are a "fantasy", Italian Navy Vice Admiral Maurizio Gemignani was quoted by AP as saying.

Jazayeri told FNA today that Iran does not want the waterway to be closed, but warned that if the country were attacked, it "would have the capability to easily close the Strait of Hormoz."

In a Sep. 11 report, the Washington Institute for the Near East Policy says that in the two decades since the Iran-Iraq War, the Islamic Republic has excelled in naval capabilities and is able to wage unique asymmetric warfare against larger naval forces.
According to the report, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN) has been transformed into a highly motivated, well-equipped, and well-financed force and is effectively in control of the world's oil lifeline, the Strait of Hormuz.

The study says that if Washington takes military action against the Islamic Republic, the scale of Iran's response would likely be proportional to the scale of the damage inflicted on Iranian assets.

Intensified threats by Tel Aviv and Washington of military action against Iran contradict a recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies which endorsed the civilian nature of Iran's nuclear plans and activities.

Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head - one in November and the other one in February - which praised Iran's truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions or launch military attack on Iran seems to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran's cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran's nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

The UN nuclear watchdog has also carried out at least 14 surprise inspections of Iran's nuclear sites so far, but found nothing to support West's allegations.

Following the said reports by the US and international bodies, many world states have called the UN Security Council pressure against Tehran unjustified, demanding that Iran's case be normalized and returned from the UNSC to the IAEA.

Meantime, a recent study by the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a prestigious American think tank, has found that a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities "is unlikely" to delay the country's program.