(photo credit: Associated Press)
Iran's president said Sunday that any Israeli attack against his nation would mean the destruction of the Jewish state.
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The two nations have exchanged numerous threats and warnings in the confrontation over Iran's nuclear program, which Israel, the United States and other countries believe is aimed at developing weapons, despite Teheran's denials.
"Any offensive against Iran means the annihilation of the Zionist entity," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said during a visit to the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar. "Iran does not care much about this entity because it is on its way to decay."
He said he doubted Israel or the US would dare to stage such an attack because "they know that Iran is ready and has the potential for a decisive and wide-scale response."
At the same time, Ahmadinejad sought to ease concerns among neighboring Arab nations that Teheran could target them if armed conflict were to break out with the West over its nuclear work.
Many of Iran's Sunni Arab neighbors, some of which host US bases,
fear that Tehran could attack them if such a conflict were to break out.
who met with Qatar's leader during Sunday's visit, said there is a need
for reconciliation and cooperation between Shi'ite-dominated Iran and
other Gulf nations.
US military chief Adm. Mike Mullen said last
month that America's military has a plan to attack Iran, although he
thinks a military strike is probably a bad idea. Still, he said the risk
of Iran developing a nuclear weapon is unacceptable and he reiterated
that "the military option" remains on the table.
Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned Wednesday that Iran's response to
an attack would not be limited to the region, suggesting Iran would
target US interests beyond the Persian Gulf.