Yoav Stern, Yossi Melman and Barak Ravid – Haaretz July 16, 2007
The Qatari newspaper Al Watan
on Sunday quoted diplomatic sources in Damascus as saying that Iran has marked 600 targets in Israel for missile strikes in case it is attacked.
The report said the targets are within reach of Iranian missiles and would be completely destroyed if Israel should attack Iran or participate in an American attack on the country.
Iran's warning refers to talk in Israel and the United States of a possible military strike to prevent the Islamic republic from attaining nuclear capability.
Various channels delivered the Iranian message, which also warns against an attack on Syria.
The sources, which were described as both "international" and Arab, told Al Watan
they do not expect a war to break out between Israel and Syria this summer.
Also Sunday, Iran's foreign ministry said Tehran will remain steady in pursuing its disputed nuclear program, and hopes the United Nations Security Council won't sanction it for this.
"Nuclear activities of Iran continue in a defined and clear framework," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said at his weekly news conference.
He dismissed earlier reports that Iran had slowed down the pace of its uranium enrichment program.
The Security Council has imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran since December of last year, over the country's refusal to halt enrichment. A third resolution is being pushed by the United States and its allies at the Council, and Hosseini acknowledged Sunday that Iran was bracing for this.
"The third resolution would have its impact on Iran," the spokesman said.
Hosseini said Tehran would try to avoid the new sanctions by pursuing a policy that steers its nuclear program away from Security Council scrutiny.
This statement appeared to refer to an agreement reached last week between Iran and the UN's nuclear watchdog for a new negotiations framework.
Iran contends its nuclear program is purely peaceful, but the United States and its allies suspect enriched uranium could be used to make atomic bombs.
The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency said on Friday that Tehran had agreed to answer questions on past nuclear experiments and would allow UN nuclear inspectors to visit facilities they had previously been barred from.
Any Iranian decision to cooperate with the IAEA could weaken the push for new UN sanctions - even if Iran continues to defy the council's main demand that it freeze uranium enrichment.
Last updated 26/07/2007