Mohammad Ali Jafari says threats of a strike will lead to a physical war, although it is not clear where or when this will occur; warns that if Israel strikes, it will be the ‘endpoint of their story.’
Israel will eventually go beyond threats and will attack Iran, proving that its enmity with Islam is serious, Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, was quoted as saying on Saturday.
As speculation mounts that Israel could launch air strikes on Iran before U.S. elections in November, Mohammad Ali Jafari told a news conference that Israel would be destroyed if it took such a step.
“Their threats only prove that their enmity with Islam and the revolution is serious, and eventually this enmity will lead to physical conflict,” Jafari said when asked about Israeli threats to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported.
“We are making all efforts to increase our defensive capabilities so that if there is an attack … we could defend ourselves and other countries that need our help with high defensive capabilities.”
Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency also reported on his comments, citing Jafari as saying that war would probably come in the form of an air offensive, rather than a ground offensive.
“No one dares to wage an extensive ground assault on Iran,” Fars cited him as saying.
Jafari also warned Israel against a strike, according to Fars. “The Zionist regime should know that if it starts something, that will be the point of their annihilation and the endpoint of their story,” the news agency cited him as saying.
Jafari’s comments, made at an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) military exhibition.
“A war will occur, but it’s not clear where or when it will be,” Jafari was quoted as saying on Saturday. “Israel seeks war with us, but it’s not clear when the war will occur.”
“Right now they see war as the only method of confrontation,” he said.
Israel, which bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 and launched a similar strike against Syria in 2007, has threatened to do the same in Iran if diplomatic efforts fail to stop the nuclear work it believes is aimed at getting weapons capability.
Iran, which says its nuclear work is for peaceful means, has said it could strike U.S. military bases in the region as well as Israel if attacked.
“If they (Israel) start something, they will be destroyed and it will be the end of the story for them,” Jafari said, according to ISNA.
The United States said Thursday that “time is wasting” in seeking a solution to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear activities as Tehran has failed to respond constructively to Western proposals.
The warning comes as the U.S. and allies are carrying out massive naval drills in the Gulf, which observers say are related to mounting tensions with Iran. Previously, Tehran has warned it would close the Strait of Hormuz if attacked. An estimated 20 percent of global oil exports pass through the strait.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently prodded President Barack Obama’s administration to draw “red lines” for Iran over its disputed nuclear program.
Netanyahu demanded in a round of interviews last weekend that Washington and the rest of the world tell Tehran that, if Iran crossed a certain point, military force would be used against it.
But Obama, seeking re-election, said he would not impose red lines or a deadline on Tehran.