Iran has threatened to target NATO’s missile defense installations in Turkey if the U.S. or Israel attacks the Islamic Republic, The Associated Press reported.
Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards’ aerospace division, made the threat on Saturday, saying the warning is part of a new defense strategy to counter what he described as an increase in threats from the U.S. and Israel.
“Should we be threatened, we will target NATO’s missile defense shield in Turkey and then hit the next targets,” Hazijzadeh was quoted as having told the Mehr news agency.
Turkey agreed in September to have the NATO anti-defense missile shield installed in its territory, prompting criticism from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who claimed the defense system was meant to protect Israel against Iranian missile attacks.
Hajizadeh said the United States also plans to install similar stations in Arab states and was quoted as saying, “Based on orders from the exalted commander in chief, we will respond to threats with threats.”
Another senior Guard commander, Yadollah Javani, threatened that Tehran will target Israel’s nuclear facilities if the Jewish state attacks Iran.
“If Israel fires a missile at our nuclear facilities or vital installations, it should know that Israel’s nuclear centers will be the target of our missiles,” the ISNA news agency quoted him as saying.
Tensions have been rising between Iran and the West since the release of a report earlier this month by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which said that Tehran was suspected of conducting secret experiments whose sole purpose was the development of nuclear arms.
There have been speculations whether Israel will attack Iran to stop its nuclear program. Former Mossad Chief Danny Yatom said this week that Israel cannot afford not to attack Iran.
“As steep as the price for hitting Iran may be, a military strike on Iran will be less painful than the cost of living with an Iranian nuclear weapons threat,” Yatom said at a conference. “The backlash from a strike on Iran’s nuclear sites will not be as bad for Israel as will an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. I don't think that those predicting apocalyptic repercussions of a strike on Tehran are correct, and even if they are, Israel can't afford to wonder if Tehran will go crazy and bomb us.”