U.S. tells Iran: We will defend Israel
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Iran on Thursday that Washington had beefed up its security presence in the Gulf and would not hesitate to defend Israel and other allies in the region. "We will defend American interests and the interests of our allies," Rice said, answering a question on an Iranian threat to "set fire" to Israel.
"We take very strongly our obligation to defend our allies and we intend to do that," she said at a news conference, according to AFP. "In the Gulf area, the United States has enhanced its security capacity, its security presence and we are working closely with all our allies... to make (sure) they are capable of defending themselves," she said.
Rice did not specify the steps the United States had taken to boost its security presence in the Gulf, but said its plans focused on Washington's "determination to prevent Iran from threatening our interests or the interests of our friends and allies.
"I don't think the Iranians are too confused either about the capabilities and power of the United States," Rice said on a brief visit to the former Soviet republic of Georgia.
On Wednesday, Iran drew an international outcry by test-firing from the Iranian desert a missile capable of reaching Israel. Tests continued on Thursday with the firing of missiles by Iranian naval forces, Iranian state television said.
Rice on Thursday said Iran had been offered incentives in negotiations aimed at ending the stand-off over Iran's nuclear intentions and called for Tehran to respond positively. According to her, it was time for Iran to "get on the right side of the international community. It ought to be talking about that, not about threats against America or threats against America's allies because frankly it's not going to do them any good."