Photo: (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
Iran has acknowledged the probability of war with Israel for the first time, claiming it will spell the Jewish state’s destruction, as the US reaffirmed its commitment on Saturday to preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.In a bipartisan and near-unanimous show of resolve, the US Senate passed a measure in the early hours of Saturday endorsing continued diplomatic and economic pressure on President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad to suspend Iran’s uranium enrichment programmes in line with United Nations demands.
Resorting to containment of a “nuclear weapons-capable Iran” further down the line is not an option, the measure spelled out, reasserting support for ongoing sanctions that limit oil sales and restrict the country’s ability to finance its nuclear programme.
Republican Senator Paul Rand was the sole dissenter, describing the resolution as “a vote for the concept of pre-emptive war.”
But the bill’s text insisted: “Nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization for the use of force or a declaration of war.”
The vote came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presses Washington to define its criteria for a US-led military strike against Iran, and amid rising tension in the region, with Israel having threatened air strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities to halt weapons development and Tehran locked in a standoff with the UN’s Security Council and nuclear watchdog.
The Iranian news agencies ISNA and Fars yesterday quoted General Mohamed Ali Jafari, chief of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard, predicting that “war will happen” with the Jewish state.
“The shameful and cancerous tumour that is Israel is seeking war against us, but it is not known when that war will happen. They now consider war as the only way to confront us, but they are so stupid that their (US) masters should stop them,” he said, speaking at a military exhibition in Tehran.
“If they begin, it will spell their destruction and will be the end of the story, even if they act rationally, this incident will happen,” he added, noting that the Islamic revolution is “moving rapidly towards its goals and they (Israel) cannot tolerate this.”
Iran insists that its nuclear enrichment programme is exclusively for peaceful, civilian purposes. But Gen Jafari warned ominously that any war with Israel would be “very different” in nature to previous conflicts.
“We are putting all of our efforts into boosting our (military) capability so that, if an aggression occurs, we can defend ourselves and those who need our help,” he said.
“We have become more serious in the face of the threats of the enemy against our country.”
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