'Strike on Iran would be existential threat to Israel'

By REUTERS
November 10, 2011 17:56

Tehran official's remarks echo earlier warnings by Iran's Supreme Seader Khamenei: Iran will answer any attack with "strong slaps and iron fists."

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Iranian security official Ali Baqeri

Iranian security official Ali Baqeri 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov)

A senior Iranian official warned Israel on Thursday that a military strike against Iran would create a threat to its own survival.

"If the Zionist regime allows itself such an oversight, a question of its existence will arise -- not a question of its legitimacy but a question of its existence," Ali Baqeri, deputy secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said through an interpreter during a visit to Moscow.

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Baqeri's remarks echoed a warning by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said military action against Iranian nuclear sites would be met with "iron fists", Iranian state television reported.

"Our enemies, particularly the Zionist regime, America and its allies, should know that any kind of threat and attack will be firmly responded to...Our nation, the Revolutionary Guards and army...will answer attacks with strong slaps and iron fists," said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.

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Tension over Iran's nuclear program has increased since the release of an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report saying Tehran appeared to have worked on designing a bomb and may still be conducting secret research to that end.

Speculation has heightened in the Israeli and Western press about the possibility of strikes by both Israel and the United States on Iran's nuclear sites.

Baqeri said Iran does not believe Israel will launch an attack, saying Israel "is in the worst condition since its creation ... in political, economic and social terms and in terms of security issues."

He said "the people of these countries [in the Middle East] want to chase Israel from the region. And so now the Zionist regime has very many weak points."


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