Iran could target installations in Turkey that are part of a planned
NATO missile shield in any future conflict, a senior military official
said on Saturday, upping the rhetoric against its neighbor with whom
relations have soured in recent months.
"We are ready to attack NATO's missile shield in Turkey if we face a
threat and then we will follow other aims," the semi-official Mehr news
agency quoted Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guards'
aerospace division, as saying.
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Tehran has made clear its displeasure at Turkey's agreement in September
to deploy a NATO missile early warning system which it sees as a US
ploy to protect Israel from any counter-attack should the Jewish state
target Iran's nuclear facilities.
Once warm relations between Iran and Turkey have been strained this year
due to the missile shield and Ankara's outspoken criticism of Syrian
President Bashar Assad's violent crackdown on popular unrest.
Turkey and Iran, the Middle East's two major non-Arab Muslim states, are
vying for influence in the post-Arab Spring region and Iranian Supreme
Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's military adviser accused Turkish Prime
Minister Tayyip Erdogan of setting its foreign policy to please
Earlier Saturday a senior military advisor to Khamenei warned that
Tehran would retaliate against an Israeli military strike by hitting
back at nuclear facilities in Israel.
Former head of the Guards' Political Bureau Brigadier Yadollah Javani
said, "If Israel fires [a] rocket at one of our nuclear facilities or
vital centers, it should know that any point of Israel, such as its
nuclear facilities, would be a target for our rockets and we have [that]
capability," Iranian news agency ISNA reported.
"Today, our enemies have been locked in a quagmire and they see no way
out, so they make contradictory comments," he contended. "They raise
military threats against Iran whereas they do not possess such a
Major-General Yahya Rahim-Safavi said earlier this week that any attack
from Israel would trigger a response from Tehran's Hezbollah allies in
Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.
"The Zionists know well that if they start a war they will be targeted
strongly from South Lebanon, from Hamas and also from Iran," he told
state broadcaster IRIB.