Mutual threats of attack on the rise between Iran and Israel
Threats of military attacks by Israel and Iran have escalated significantly in recent months, with Israeli officials threatening Iran with preemptive military strikes if it didn’t give up its nuclear activities, and Iran warning of a severe retaliation for such an attack.
Commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad-Baqer Zolqadr, stated recently that Israel chould "forget about (its) Dimona nuclear center if one Israeli missile is fired at Iran's atomic power plant" referring to Israel’s Dimona reactor, believed to produces weapons-grade plutonium.
Zolqadr added that "Given the internal crises in the Israeli regime and its military, security and geographical vulnerability, Israel is not capable of attacking Iran and its treats are only propaganda."
Israel, however, has in the past carried out long-range military operations, as was the case with the 1981 attack on Iraq's Osirak nuclear plant. However, many observers believe that Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon's political isolation within his party may lead him to OK an attack on Iran in order to achieve internal political gains.
On his part, Zolqadr said the Israeli threats are aimed at depriving Iran of its legitimate right under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
In recent weeks Iran's reinstated nuclear activity has been the center of a heated debate, with the US and EU calling on Iran to cease such activity fearing that it might be used to develop nuclear weapons.
Iran announced recently the successful testing of an upgraded version of its medium-range Shahab-3 missile, which has the potential of striking anywhere in Israel.
Yadollah Javani, Iran's Revolutionary Guards chief, was recently quoted as saying that Israel "including its nuclear establishments and atomic munitions are now within the range of Iran's advanced missiles". Iran maintains, however, that its missile program should work as a deterrent only.
Last month, Israel announced it had tested its Arrow II missile, a proof it has improved anti-missile system and ready to fend off any attack by Iran.
Israel has been trying to mobilize the world support against Iran’s nuclear activity, saying that within three years Iran could have the capabilities for nuclear weapon production. Israel has stated that in the event that diplomacy fails to halt Iran nuclear production, it would act alone.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)