13 Jul 2008

Official says Iran would destroy Israel if attacked

10:19 am on 13 July 2008

A senior Iranian official is reported as saying Iran would destroy Israel and 32 US military bases in the Middle East if the Islamic Republic is attacked over its nuclear programme.

Mojtaba Zolnour, the deputy of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's representative in Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards was quoted on Saturday by the semi-official Fars News Agency, as saying in a speech:

"The US knows full well that with the smallest move against Iran, Israel and 32 US military bases in the region would not be out of the reach of our missiles and would be destroyed."

The Islamic Republic and Israel have been involved in an escalating war of words.

Israel staged an air force exercise last month that sparked speculation about a possible assault on Iranian nuclear sites.

Missile tests by Iran this week further raised the tension.

Washington has said it wants a diplomatic end to the row but has not ruled out military action should that fail.

On Wednesday, Iran said it tested nine long and medium-range missiles, including one which it said could reach Israel and US bases.