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      Iran Threatens Pre-Emptive Strike on Pre-Emptive Strike

      Top Iranian general warns that the Islamic Republic will pre-emptively strike anyone who threatens it.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 2/22/2012, 6:15 AM

      Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
      Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
      Flash 90

      A top Iranian general warned Tuesday that the Islamic Republic will pre-emptively strike anyone who threatens it, The Associated Press reported.

      The news agency quoted Gen. Mohammed Hejazi, who heads the military's logistical wing, as having told the Fars news agency, “We do not wait for enemies to take action against us. We will use all our means to protect our national interests.”

      The remarks come following speculations in the media that Israel may launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Both the U.S. and Israel have not ruled out such an attack, but the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, said earlier this week it is “premature” to decide to attack Iran at this point.

      Last week it was reported that officials in key parts of President Barack Obama’s administration are increasingly convinced that sanctions will not deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear program and believe that the U.S. will be left with no option but to launch an attack on Iran or watch Israel do so.

      The report in the British Guardian said that there is a strong current of opinion within the administration – including in the Pentagon and the State Department – that believes sanctions are doomed to fail, and that their principal use now is in delaying Israeli military action.

      The growing concern among U.S. officials that Israel may strike Iran without consulting with the Obama administration may have led to the U.S. extending an invitation to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to meet with Obama in Washington on March 5.

      Obama's National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said on Monday that the two leaders will discuss the "full range of security issues of mutual concern."

      Donilon concluded three days of talks with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem amid escalating tensions over on Iran's nuclear program. He met with Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and others.

      The White House described the talks as a reflection of the Obama administration's "unshakeable commitment to Israel's security."

      Earlier this week, Iran threatened a “crushing response to Israel’s slightest move”. The Islamic Republic’s ambassador to Lebanon, Qazanfar Roknabadi, said on Saturday that “Iran will not start a possible war with the Zionist regime but will deliver a decisive response to any aggression by the regime." As usual, he refrained from using the term “Israel.