DUBAI (Reuters) - Israel will eventually go beyond threats and will attack Iran, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying on Saturday.
As speculation mounts that Israel could launch air strikes on Iran before U.S. elections in November, Mohammad Ali Jafari told a news conference that the Jewish state would be destroyed if it took such a step.
“Their threats only prove that their enmity with Islam and the revolution is serious, and eventually this enmity will lead to physical conflict,” Jafari said when asked about Israeli threats to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported.
“We are making all efforts to increase our defensive capabilities so that if there is an attack ... we could defend ourselves and other countries that need our help with high defensive capabilities.”
Jafari’s comments, made at an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) military exhibition, come as Israeli leaders have increased their rhetoric against Iran.
“A war will occur, but it’s not clear where or when it will be,” Jafari was quoted as saying on Saturday. “Israel seeks war with us, but it’s not clear when the war will occur.”
“Right now they see war as the only method of confrontation,” he said.
Israel, which bombed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 and launched a similar strike against Syria in 2007, has threatened to do the same in Iran if diplomatic efforts fail to stop the nuclear work it believes is aimed at getting weapons capability.
Iran, which says its nuclear work is for peaceful means, has said it could strike U.S. military bases in the region as well as Israel if attacked.
“If they (Israel) start something, they will be destroyed and it will be the end of the story for them,” Jafari said, according to ISNA.
Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Robin Pomeroy