Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Iran promises 'response' to Zionism's supporters on Oct. 12

Supporters of the "Zionist regime" will receive a response from Iran during the world Qods Day rallies on October 12, the IRNA news agency reported government spokesman, Gholam-Hossein Elham, saying Wednesday. Qods Day is held each year on the last Friday of Ramadan as a day to voice Islamic opposition to Zionism.

"The US loses all opportunities to cooperate with regional and other world states by trying to support a regime [the Zionist regime] which is now at its weakest political and social position," Elham said. The spokesman, who was addressing US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to Israel, did not specify what an Iranian "response" would entail.

He also warned that Washington's insistence on its wrong policies and arrogant approaches would have no result "but further political disgrace" for itself.

Elham's remarks came hours after a report by the Fars news agency that the deputy commander of Iran's air force said that plans have been drawn up to bomb Israel if it attacked Iran.

"We have drawn up a plan to strike back at Israel with our bombers if this regime (Israel) makes a silly mistake," deputy air force chief, Gen. Mohammad Alavi was quoted as telling Fars in an interview.

The Fars news agency confirmed the quotes when contacted by the Associated Press, but would not provide a tape of the interview. The Iranian Air Force, for its part, had no immediate comment on the interview.

The announcement comes amid rising tensions in the region with the United States calling for a new round of UN sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program and Israeli planes having recently overflown Syria's territory.

Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammed Najjar, however, did tell the official IRNA news agency Wednesday that "we keep various options open to respond to threats ... we will make use of them if required."

Iran has threatened in the past that Israel would be Iran's first retaliatory target if attacked by the United States. But Alavi's comments were the first word of specific contingency plans for striking back at Israel.

Many in the region fear Israel could launch air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities to prevent it from building a nuclear weapon.

Alavi also warned that Israel was within Iran's medium-range missiles and its fighter bombers, while maintaining that Israel was not strong enough to launch an aerial attack against Iran.

"The whole territory of this regime is within the range of our missiles. Moreover, we can attack their territory with our fighter bombers as a response to any attack," the general said.

An upgraded version of Iran's Shihab-3 missile has a range of 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) capable of reaching Israel and carrying a nuclear warhead.

Alavi said Iran's radar bases were monitoring activities at the country's borders around the clock and boasted that it had the capability to confront US cruise missiles.

"One of the issues enemies make publicity about is their cruise missiles. Now, we possess the necessary systems to confront them (cruise missiles)," Alavi was quoted as saying.

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