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      Iran's Defense Minister: We Can Wipe Israel Off the Earth

      Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi: Tehran is capable of wiping the Israeli regime off the earth.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 9/21/2012, 6:12 AM

      Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
      Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
      Flash 90

      Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi on Thursday downplayed Israel's threats against the Islamic Republic, warning that Tehran is capable of wiping the Israeli regime off the earth.

      The Iranian-based Fars news agency quoted Vahidi as having told reporters that Iran's defensive power against Israel’s threats has become so developed that it "would easily wipe off the Zionist regime from the face of the earth."

      "Faced with various problems, the usurper regime of Israel makes such absurd threats to compensate for its internal crisis," the minister was quoted as saying.

      Iran’s leaders have repeatedly threatened to attack Israel if it launches a strike on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities.

      On Sunday, the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards warned of retaliation against the Gulf's strategic Strait of Hormuz, U.S. bases in the Middle East and Israel if his country was to be attacked.

      General Mohammad Ali Jafari said that Tehran believed Israel was unsuccessfully trying to push the United States to take part in military action against Iran's nuclear facilities.

      "I do not think the attack would be carried out without U.S. permission," said Jafari.

      However if Israeli jets or missiles did strike Iran, "nothing of Israel will be left, considering its size," he warned.

      "I do not think any part of Israel will be untouched given our missile capabilities. Thus, our response is in itself a deterrent,” said Jafari.

      Last month, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, speaking at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, called Israelis “ferocious Zionist wolves who digest the Palestinian people.”

      The head of Israel's Nuclear Energy Commission, Shaul Horev, seemed to hit back at Iran on Wednesday, when he said that Israel has the ability to defend itself on its own.

      Horev made the remarks during a speech to the annual meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.

      While he did not specifically mention an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, his speech more than hinted that the verbal confrontation between Jerusalem and Tehran could escalate into a military confrontation.