TEHRAN - Iran will attack any country whose territory is used by "enemies" of the Islamic state to launch a military strike against its soil, the deputy head of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards told the semi-official Fars news agency on Sunday.

"Any spot used by the enemy for hostile operations against Iran, will be subjected to retaliatory aggression by our armed forces," Hossein Salami said, during military maneuvers.

The Revolutionary Guards began the two-day ground exercises on Saturday as a show of military might as tension rises between Tehran and the West over Iran's disputed nuclear program.

Iranian media said it was a small-scale exercise in southern Iran.

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The United States and Israel have not ruled out a military strike against the country if diplomacy fails to resolve the standoff. Iran says its nuclear program is purely peaceful, rather than aimed at developing weapons.

Iran has warned that its response to any such strike will be "painful," threatening to target Israel, and US bases in the Gulf, along with closing the vital oil shipping route of the Strait of Hormuz.

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