Iranian Defense Minister has been misquoted on preemptive strike

Iran on Saturday denied a report that it might launch a preemptive attack to prevent a possible raid on its nuclear sites by the United States or Israel, saying the report "distorted" its Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani.

Some media reported on Wednesday Shamkhani told the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV that Iran might launch a preemptive strike against US forces in the region to prevent an attack on its nuclear site.

The official IRNA Saturday quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi as saying remarks made by Shamkhani on the country's preventive operations have been "distorted."

"The Iranian defense minister, in his remarks, stressed that the Islamic Republic defends its territorial integrity and its national interests. However, his remarks have not been quoted precisely and have been misrepresented," Asefi said.

"We will not sit (with arms folded) to wait for what others will do to us," Shamkhani told Al-Jazeera TV when asked if Iran would respond to a US attack on its nuclear facilities, speaking in Farsi through an interpreter into Arabic, reported Xinhuanet.

A commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned this week that Iran would strike Israel’ s reactor at Dimona if Israel attacked Iran’s nuclear sites.

“If Israel fires one missile at Bushehr atomic power plant, it should permanently forget about the Dimona nuclear centre, where it produces and keeps its nuclear weapons,” said the commander, Gen. Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr.

Admiral Shamkhani said Iran was certain that Israel would not carry out such an attack without a green light from the United States. “So you cannot separate the two,” he said.

Earlier on Thursday, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi urged the International Atomic Energy Agency to close its file on charges that Iran was developing nuclear weapons, state-run television reported. This month, the United Nations agency affirmed Iran’s claim that the highly enriched uranium found at an Iranian site had been carried in on equipment Iran purchased in the black market, informed NNN.

“The threat is definitely perceived in Israel,” said Aharon Klieman, director of the graduate programme in diplomatic studies at Tel Aviv University. “You’ve got motivation against Israel, plus capability.”

Iran and Israel, which once had close ties, have been at odds since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Iran routinely calls for Israel’s destruction, while Israel accuses the Tehran regime of backing anti-Israel terrorists.

The latest tensions erupted last month, after a missile-defence system being developed by Israel and the United States destroyed an incoming ballistic missile in a test off the California coast. The Arrow system is expected to become part of Israel’s defences against Iran, according to The Daily Times.

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