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Tehran could strike Israeli nuclear sites, general warns

An attack on Iran’s facilities will trigger tit-for-tat retaliation, the IRGC officer in charge of their safety has said

If Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities, Tehran could respond in kind, a senior officer of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on Thursday, according to local media.

Tensions have escalated in the Middle East this month following an alleged Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1, in which seven IRGC officers were killed. Tehran retaliated last weekend with a massive barrage of drones and missiles, most of which were reportedly downed by the Jewish state and its Western backers.

Tehran has said it considers the incident resolved, but Israel has vowed to strike back without revealing how and when. Reportedly, West Jerusalem is considering further military action, possibly targeting the Iranian nuclear industry. IRGC Brigadier General Ahmad Haghtalab, the officer responsible for safeguarding the Iranian sites, said the Israeli nuclear industry could be hit in retaliation.

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The Israeli nuclear compounds “are identified, and the necessary information about all the targets is at our disposal to respond,” he said, as quoted by Tasnim, a semi-official news agency associated with the IRGC. “We have a hand on the trigger to launch powerful missiles and destroy those targets.”

The Israeli nuclear industry has a public civilian component as well as a purported military component, the existence of which it neither confirms nor denies. West Jerusalem has an estimated 80 nuclear weapons at its disposal, including 30 gravity bombs and 50 warheads for medium-range ballistic missiles, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a leading international security watchdog. Haghtalab didn’t specify which sites Iran had considered for its hypothetical operation.

Israel has been accusing Iran of secretly developing nuclear capabilities of its own for decades. Gilad Erdan, its representative at the UN, claimed last Sunday that Tehran was mere weeks away from building a nuclear weapon, as he urged members of the UN Security Council to consider what would have happened if Iran “could have launched a nuclear bomb” when it attacked his country.

The Iranian leadership has stated that it considers all weapons of mass destruction incompatible with Islam. Haghtalab, however, assessed that it would be “conceivable” for Tehran to reconsider its “nuclear doctrine and politics,” if Israel keeps threatening its nuclear facilities.

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Nuclear sites are normally considered off limits for military action, the general said, but Israel’s attack on the consulate, an internationally-protected diplomatic mission, was proof that it does not care about playing by the rules.

April 18, 2024 at 08:06PM

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