Iran officials: U.S., Israel wouldn’t dare attempt a military strike

The United States and Israel would not dare attempt a military strike of Iran’s nuclear sites, Iranian military officials said Saturday, adding that they were confident that Tehran would easily repel such an attempt.

The United States, which has ships in the Persian Gulf, has not ruled out a military strike to thwart what it suspects is an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Iran denies its atomic program is aimed at making weapons.

Iran’s ISNA news agency quoted an aide to the country’ Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday as saying that Israel and the United States would never strike Iran, saying that “both the U.S. and Zionist regime face internal problems and they know that we make many troubles for them if they attack Iranian territory.”

Yahya Rahim Safav told ISNA that Iran’s armed forces were “fully prepared and enemies are aware of that, they do not have the power to take a political decision on the issue, because they know they can start the war but are not able to finish it.”

“We need to be fully vigilant of these attacks, the enemy knows that it will regret if launches a land strike against Iran.” Safavi said.

Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted the commander of the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad-Ali Ja’fari as saying that the United States would not dare to attack Iran as it is fully aware of Iran’s defense power and its nation’s determination.

Ja’fari also said, according to the IRNA report, that he considered his forces’ preparedness as being at their “highest level,” adding that recent sanctions imposed on Iran in view of its contentious nuclear program would have no impact on Iran’s potency.

The United States, the United Nations and the European Union have imposed new restrictions on Iran over its nuclear enrichment activities, which the West fears could lead it to make a bomb.

The fourth round of U.N. sanctions calls for measures against new Iranian banks abroad if a link to the nuclear or missile programs is suspected and for vigilance on transactions with any Iranian bank, including the central bank.

Also Saturday, a former naval chief in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said his country has set aside 100 military vessels to confront each U.S. warship that poses a threat.

General Morteza Saffari is quoted by the conservative weekly Panjereh Saturday as saying that troops aboard U.S. warships “are morsels for Iran to target in the event of any American threat against Iran.”

In 2008, Iran put its most powerful military force, the Revolutionary Guard, in charge of defending the country’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, a vital oil route.

Speaking with the semi-official Fars news agency, Iran’s Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said that the increased U.S. pressure on Iran were prompted by Washington’s desire to advance its “propaganda campaign “and gain control of the region.

Fars quotes Vahidi as saying that a military strike on Iran was unlikely, adding that Israel too was “uttering such remarks in a bid to reduce the growing international pressures through psychological warfare,” Vahidi told Fars.

“We, too, advise them not to seek trouble and tension in the region through spoiling the atmosphere,” Vahidi said.

Iran: We won’t trade with countries that impose UN sanctions

Iran warned on Saturday it would stop trading with countries that impose restrictions on its assets abroad in the face of tightening international sanctions over the Islamic state’s disputed nuclear activities.

“Any country that creates limitations for Iran’s assets, we will stop trading with them,” Hamid Borhani, deputy head of the Central Bank of Iran, told the semi-official Mehr news agency. “We have to protect our assets.”

Iran, the world’s fifth-largest crude oil exporter, says it needs nuclear technology to generate power.

The latest measures are mainly aimed at vital sectors of Iran’s economy such as banking and energy, which analysts say will raise the cost of trade by making it more difficult to transfer funds or insure cargoes.

Iran says any sanctions imposed on its banking sector will create instability in the world’s financial system although the Islamic state will find ways to protect its assets.

The United Arab Emirates, a Washington ally, told financial institutions in the Gulf Arab country in June to freeze any accounts belonging to dozens of firms targeted by the fourth round of UN sanctions.

The hard-line Iranian leader has consistently played down the impact of sanctions. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called the UN sanctions a “used handkerchief”.

The new sanctions imposed on Iran’s banking and financing system may block transactions in Euros and dollars.

Iran said on Friday it will shift to other currencies for payment of its oil exports. The dollar is the standard currency for oil trade, but transactions can in theory be carried out in whatever currency the parties involved decide