Iranian military commanders on Friday threatened the complete destruction of the State of Israel as the country unveiled a domestically manufactured air defense system as part of a military parade, various Iranian news agencies reported.
"If the Zionist regime makes such a move, there will no longer be a thing called the Zionist regime,” Revolutionary Guards General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said, according to Iran's Press TV. “The Zionist regime cannot even imagine our response to the military attack of this regime."
Commander of Iran's ground forces Brig.-Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan told the semi-official Mehr news agency “The enemy will regret it if it one day decides to attack Iran. We will deliver such a response to them that they will regret their act of aggression.”
The parade, displaying military hardware, marked the anniversary of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war. According to Iranian state media, the military displayed Shahab 3, Sejjil, Qadr, Sahab and Zelzal missiles during the parade. Iran has claimed the Shahab 3 has a range that can reach Israel and they have reportedly experimented with integrating a nuclear warhead onto the missile.
According to Mehr, the military also unveiled its domestically manufactured Ra’d (Thunder) air defense system. "The system has been manufactured with the aim of confronting US aircraft and can hit targets at a distance of 50 kilometers and at an altitude of 75,000 feet (22,860 meters,)" Hajizadeh said.
Ahmadinejad blames Israel of anti-Islam film
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused Israel of being behind the anti-Islam film that has sparked violent protests in the Muslim world, AFP reported on Friday.
Speaking at the military parade in Tehran, Ahmadinejad called the film an Israeli plot "to divide (Muslims) and spark sectarian conflict."
Ahmadinejad's comments on the anti-Islam film came after Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said earlier this week that the American-made video is tied to "Islamophobic policies of arrogant powers and Zionists."
Khamenei added that it is incumbent upon Western governments to prove to the Muslim world that they are against attacks against Islam. "Leaders of [the US and European countries] must prove that they were not accomplices in this big crime in practice by preventing such crazy measures,” he said.
The 13-minute English-language movie, which was circulated on the Internet under several titles including "Innocence of Muslims," mocks the Prophet Muhammad and portrays him as a buffoon.
The film helped generate a torrent of violence last week in which the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed in an attack in Benghazi. US and other foreign embassies were stormed in cities in Asia, Africa and the Middle East by furious Muslims.
For many Muslims, any depiction of the prophet is blasphemous. Caricatures deemed insulting in the past have provoked protests and drawn condemnations from officials, preachers, ordinary Muslims and many Christians.
Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, a Coptic Christian widely linked to the film in media reports, was voluntarily questioned on Saturday by US authorities investigating possible violations of his probation for a bank fraud conviction.
Initial reports described the filmmaker as Sam Bacile, a self-described “Israeli Jew” and now a Los Angeles property developer, who said that the $5 million movie was financed by donations from 100 Jews.
Reuters and Tom Tugend contributed to this report.
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