Iran Rattles Saber at Israel, US
Iran would cause serious damage to the United States and Israel should Jewish state strike the Islamic Republic's nuclear program, Iran's top military official said on Wednesday.
The "Zionist regime's military attack against Iran would lead to heavy damages to the US as well as [to the] Zionist regime," Iran's Chief of Staff Maj.-Gen. Hassan Fayrouz Abadi said.
Iran would attack Israel in a "surprising" way, he was quoted by Army Radio as saying.
Iran's bellicose rhetoric comes as senior ministers in Jerusalem took Israel's media to task for discussing a potential strike on Iran, which commentators have suggested may be near.
Israel Radio also announced the successful launch of a rocket propulsion system on Wednesday, which it described as a "ballistic missile." Foreign media reports speculate the new Israeli system could be fitted with a nuclear warhead.
The reports in Israel's media, Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman said, "have no relation to the truth" adding that 99% of the media's speculations were "false."
While Israel has remained on message warning of the military aspects of Iran's nuclear program in recent years, security officials generally remain silent on any plans they may have for exercising a "military option" vis-a-vis Iran.
Officials say media reports about potential military operations, irrespective of their truth value, do "tremendous damage" policy makers' ability to make critical decisions while guiding the ship of state.
Meanwhile, Iran also struck out at the United States saying Washington's contradictory and goalless policies "reveal US helplessness." Tehran also warned the United States against maintaining a long-term presence in neighboring Afghanistan, and said it would release hundreds of documents proving Washington was a "state-sponsor of terrorism."
Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, said Wednesday the Obama administration was trying to "divert attention from the Wall Street Protests."
Regional observers, however, say Iran's loud, aggressive posture is likely a sign of insecurity in the wake of two Iranian nationals allegedly linked to its covert Quds Force being indicted in a US court for a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia's envoy to Washington.
US officials have been moving to isolate Iran and to undermine its strategic partners in the wake of the incident, while Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have said they will respond to Tehran's aggression in their own time.