Iran warns against rumored Israeli military strike


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Iran’s top military chief warned that his country would retaliate harshly against an Israeli strike on its nuclear sites, as Israel successfully test-fired a new ballistic missile.

Responding to reports that Israel was preparing to launch an attack against Iran, the Islamic Republic’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Hassan Fairouz Abadi, on Wednesday reportedly told Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency that Iran would strike back hard against Israel and the United States.

"America knows that a Zionist military strike in Iran would cause it major damages in addition to the damages caused to this regime," Abadi said.

A report by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, is due next week, and reportedly will offer new details about Iran’s nuclear program.

Also Wednesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said in an interview on Israel Radio that most reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are pushing the Cabinet to approve an attack on Iran "have no connection to reality." Reports to that effect had surfaced the previous day in the Israeli and international media and have caused "tremendous damage," Lieberman said.

Lieberman also said that Iran continues to pose a dangerous threat to the entire world and that Israel expects the international community to do "much more" regarding Iran, including imposing sanctions.

Saying that the test of a new ballistic missile was planned and had no connection to a possible attack on Iran, the Israeli military successfully fired a ballistic missile Wednesday from Palmachim Airbase in central Israel, according to a statement from the Defense Ministry. 

Foreign media believe Israel has missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.

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