Iran says can destroy U.S. bases "minutes after attack"

DUBAI Wed Jul 4, 2012 10:35pm EDT

An Iranian long-range shore-to-sea missile called Qader (Capable) is launched during Velayat-90 war game on Sea of Oman's shore near the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran January 2, 2012. REUTERS/Jamejamonline/Ebrahim Norouzi/Handout

An Iranian long-range shore-to-sea missile called Qader (Capable) is launched during Velayat-90 war game on Sea of Oman's shore near the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran January 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jamejamonline/Ebrahim Norouzi/Handout

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DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has threatened to destroy U.S. military bases across the Middle East and target Israel within minutes of being attacked, Iranian media reported on Wednesday, as Revolutionary Guards extended test-firing of ballistic missiles into a third day.

Israel has hinted it may attack Iran if diplomacy fails to secure a halt to its disputed nuclear energy program. The United States also has mooted military action as a last-resort option but has frequently nudged the Israelis to give time for intensified economic sanctions to work against Iran.

"These bases are all in range of our missiles, and the occupied lands (Israel) are also good targets for us," Amir Ali Haji Zadeh, commander of the Revolutionary Guards aerospace division, was quoted by Fars news agency as saying.

Haji Zadeh said 35 U.S. bases were within reach of Iran's ballistic missiles, the most advanced of which commanders have said could hit targets 2,000 km (1,300 miles) away.

"We have thought of measures to set up bases and deploy missiles to destroy all these bases in the early minutes after an attack," he added.

It was not clear where Haji Zadeh got his figures on U.S. bases in the region. U.S. military facilities in the Middle East are located in Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Turkey, and it has around 10 bases further afield in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan.

SCEPTICISM

Defence analysts are often sceptical about what they describe as exaggerated military assertions by Iran and say the country's military capability would be no match for sophisticated U.S. defence systems.

Iranian media reported that this week's three-day "Great Prophet 7" tests involved dozens of missiles and domestically-built drones that successfully destroyed simulated air bases.

Iran has upped its fiery anti-West rhetoric in response to the launch on Sunday of a total European Union embargo on buying Iranian crude oil - the latest calibrated increase in sanctions aimed at pushing Tehran into curbing nuclear activity.

Revolutionary Guards commanders have also threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which more than a third of the world's seaborne oil trade passes out of the Gulf, in response to the increasingly harsh sanctions.

Major powers have said they would tolerate no obstruction of commercial traffic through the Strait, and the United States maintains a formidable naval presence in the Gulf region.

Iran accused the West of disrupting global energy supplies and creating regional instability and says its forces can dominate the vital waterway to provide security.

"The policy of the Islamic Republic is based on maintaining security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz for all ships and oil tankers," Iranian English-language state Press TV quoted the chairman of parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, as saying.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of using its nuclear program to covertly develop all the components required to produce nuclear weapons, accusations the Iranian officials have repeatedly denied.

The world's No. 5 oil exporter maintains that it is enriching uranium for nuclear fuel only to generate more energy for a rapidly growing population.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Comments (4)
onemind wrote:
Brings to mind under Bush 1 when North Korea was making such threats on bases in South Korea. General Powell made a public response that if that happened North Korea “would cease to exist”. He restated that on many media out lets for about a week. There after though North Korea would make boasts from time to time, all seemed assure they were not stupid enough to act in a way that meant all their leadership would be dead in a matter of hours. If we only had a President that would make such a plain statement now, it might settle the Iranian leadership down.

Jul 05, 2012 2:23am EDT  --  Report as abuse
McBob08 wrote:
Still absolutely zero proof that Iran is trying to use its nuclear program for anything other than domestic energy production, despite IAEA inspectors and CIA spies crawling over every inch of Iran. Is it any wonder that Iran starts making threats under the blanket of threats and persecution it lives under? The West is picking on Iran without any real reason to do so. They are just a hand hate-target to keep justifying Americas massive military overspending. If anything, the UN should be offering Iran aid and protection, because Israel is constantly making threats toward them. Israel has shown that it will follow through on its threats, so no one rational can argue that Israel isn’t the real threat in the Middle East. They’ve bombed Iranian factories and airfields in the past, without any provocation (incidentally, Iran didn’t give ANY military response to those unjustified attacks; so why do people suddenly think they will break their constitution and do so now?)

Time to start seriously examining our priorities… and our “allies”

Jul 05, 2012 3:48am EDT  --  Report as abuse
McBob08 wrote:
@Onemind: I notice how this threat of attacks isn’t setting Romney or Obama down. That’s because America is in an election cycle, and such rhetoric is normal, and utterly meaningless.

Likewise, Iran is in an election cycle, and just like candidates in America, the fiery rhetoric is normal, and utterly meaningless. Stop falling for the Fear Hype.

Jul 05, 2012 3:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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