Iranian commander: Israeli strike could trigger WWIII

Joanna Paraszczuk – Jerusalem Post September 23, 2012

A senior Iranian military commander on Sunday said that an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran could “trigger World War III,” repeating threats made over the past few weeks that Tehran will attempt to destroy Israel if the Jewish state launches an attack on Iran either with or without the US.

Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC’s aerospace division, also told state-owned al-Alam TV that Iran would target US bases in the region should Israel attack.

He warned that an Israeli strike could lead to a wider conflict, saying, “It’s impossible to imagine an independent war between Iran and the US or the Zionist Regime [Israel],” but rather it is more likely that other regional countries  would side with Iran or Israel in case of war.

“One should not imagine that the countries in the region would declare neutrality if a war breaks out,” he added according to a report by Iran’s Press TV.

Also on Sunday, Deputy Commander of the IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Salami said Iran is no longer concerned about threats from Israel.

“We have crossed the line of worrying about threats from the Zionist Regime [Israel],” Salami said according to Sepah News, the IRGC’s official news site, adding that in its wars over the last decade Israel has encountered harsh retaliation from the Islamic Republic’s ‘regional branches’, and is no longer a threat to Iran.

“If the Zionists really do strike Iran, it would provide a historic opportunity for the Islamic Revolution to wipe [Israel] off the face of the earth,” he said, adding that Iran would then “reclaim the lands occupied by Israel for the Palestinians.”

Salami then said that an Iranian infantry battalion would be able to “break Israel’s back” within a day. “The Regime [Israel] is only 24 kilometers wide in parts,” he explained.

Salami said that Iran was known as a great power and was capable of fighting on many fronts.

“We do not intend to start a war, but if someone starts a war against us, we will respond offensively and strike everywhere and will not stop,” he added, noting that the IRGC’s strategies and tactics are offensive, not defensive, in nature.

“Our enemy will begin the war, but we will be the ones to end it,” he asserted.

Salami said that Iran had gained knowledge in weapons manufacturing, including modern missile technology. The Islamic Republic has missiles capable of destroying enemy bases in the region, he claimed.

Referring to Iran’s recent announcements of new military developments, Salami noted that Iran had unveiled its Ra’ad (‘Thunder’) air defense system during its annual military parade on Friday.

The Ra’ad system is equipped with domestically made Taer (‘Bird’) missiles, which have a range of 50 kilometers and can hit targets at 22,000 meters, according to the Iranian state media.