TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran would retaliate by striking Israel’s nuclear facility if Israel attacked its nuclear activities, armed forces chief of staff Hassan Firouzabadi said on Friday.
“Our developed weapons can hit any part of the Zionist regime (Israel) ... We hope not to be forced to attack their nuclear facility,” Firouzabadi told the semi-official Mehr news agency.
Iran does not recognize Israel, which it calls the “Zionist regime.” Israel regards Iran’s nuclear program as a threat to its existence.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a live broadcast at Tehran University marking the annual Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day, told Israel to leave Iran alone.
“I want to say that not only the Zionists, but even their masters are smaller than to lay a finger on the Iranian nation and its rights,” he said.
Israel, believed to be the only nuclear-armed Middle East state, has not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to end a dispute over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
The West suspects the Islamic Republic is covertly trying to develop nuclear weapons, but Iran denies this.
Reporting by Hossein Jaseb; Writing by Parisa Hafezi; editing by Tim Pearce