Iran: We can hit Israeli nuclear sites

Revolutionary Guards chief issues stark warning; Iranian FM: Bushehr will be active in summer 2009.

Khamenei with a halo 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Khamenei with a halo 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Iranian missiles can reach Israeli nuclear sites, Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander-in-chief of the Islamic republic's Revolutionary Guards, said Wednesday. "All the nuclear facilities in different parts of the land under the occupation of the Zionist regime are in the reach of Iran's missile defenses," Jafari was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying. Iran's Shahab-3 missiles have a range of up to 1,250 miles, putting Israel within striking distance. Jafari was quoted as saying that Iran is now a mighty military power to be reckoned with. Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said Wednesday that its Russian-built Bushehr nuclear power plant would definitely become active in the summer of 2009. Speaking in parliament in Teheran, Mottaki said it was the government's duty to finish the project, which he said would be a significant political achievement, particularly considering the heavy international pressure imposed on the Islamic republic to curb its nuclear activities. He said Russia had delivered the nuclear fuel as scheduled and nothing would further delay the implementation of the project, stressing that there were no problems between Teheran and Moscow. "If there appears any change in Russia's stance, Iran will take a very clear position in dealing with it," he emphasized. Also Wednesday, Iran's supreme leader criticized what he called President Barack Obama's "unconditional" support for Israel, saying he was following the same mistaken policies as the Bush administration. Ayatollah Khomeini said Obama spoke of change during his campaign but supported the IDF operation in Gaza. "The new US president, who came to office on the slogan of bringing change in the policies of the Bush administration, speaks of unconditional commitment to defend Israel's security," Khamenei said Wednesday, addressing a conference on supporting the Palestinians in Teheran. "This means the same wrong path as the Bush administration and nothing less," he said. Khamenei also called Israel a "cancerous tumor" that is on the verge of collapse. Obama has said his administration is looking for opportunities to engage Iran to help reduce tensions between the two countries that increased during Bush's time in office. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Iran would welcome talks with the US - but only if there was mutual respect. Iranian officials have said that means the US needs to stop accusing Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons and supporting terrorism, charges Teheran has denied. On Wednesday, Ahmadinejad urged the United States to change its "satanic" ways if it is serious about wanting change. "Change means giving up your satanic, coercive and aggressive ways and instead adopting more human morals. ... If you accept this invitation, it will be to the benefit of yourself and your nation," Ahmadinejad told a crowd in northwestern Iran. He did not mention Obama by name but was clearly referring to the new president's administration.