General Amir Ali Hajizadeh of Iran, who leads the aerospace division of the Revolutionary Guards, warned on November 26 that should the US or Israel strike the Islamic Republic, his country will respond by attacking NATO's missile defense shield in  neighboring Turkey. According to Iran’s Mehr news agency, the senior military officials says that this is a new defense posture in response to Iran views as a heightened threat from the US and Israel.  "Should we be threatened, we will target NATO's missile defense shield in Turkey and then hit the next targets,"  Mehr quoted Hajizadeh as saying.

 Following the release of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency on November 8, tensions have been rising between Iran and the West. The supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khameini warned Washington and Jerusalem that any aggression on their part will be met with “iron fists.” Iran’s state-controlled TV network quoted him as saying, “Our enemies, particularly the Zionist regime (Israel), America and its allies, should know that any kind of threat and attack or even thinking about any (military) action will be firmly responded to,"  in response to the IAEA report. Iran signalled that a long-range missile test by Israel in November is further evidence of what it views as aggression.  Quoth Khameini, “The Revolutionary Guards and army and our nation ... will answer attacks with strong slaps and iron fists." 

Tehran has long been suspected of conducting secret tests and engaging in a weaponization program in which specialized centrifuges are used to obtain weapons-grade fissile material. So far, the Islamic Republic has refused any inspections of its facilities, all the while insisting that its intentions are pacific. Tehran says NATO's early warning radar station in Turkey is meant to protect Israel against Iranian missile attacks if a war breaks out.  The radar station is located in the Turkish town of Kurecik, some 435 miles (700 kilometers) west of the Iranian border. Turkey agreed in September to hosting the NATO missile defense system in order to counter the threat from Iran.  Iranian Gen. Hajizadeh said the US plans to install stations in nearby Muslim states, thereby necessitating a change in Iran’s military strategy.  "Based on orders from the exalted commander in chief, we will respond to threats with threats," he said.

Ominously, Revolutionary Guards Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari announced that the technological legacy of Major General Hassan Moqaddam, who was killed in an explosion at a missile base three weeks ago, is ready for a final testing. Major Gen. Jafari praised Moqaddam for his service to Iran and its weapons program. Jafari’s final technological achievement will be ready within one week. On November 25, on the website of Ayatollah Khameini published a report warning of the human and ecological consequences of an attack on Iran and three war scenarios in the event of a strike by Israel or the US:

1. An all out war of attrition that would combine aerial and ground forces attack.

2. Limited war as a preparatory action for political proceedings. This would include hitting Iran’s control centers for the purpose of disrupting the stability of the Islamic regime. The best case scenario here would be that war leads to the regime's fall; the worst case would see Iran surrendering at the negotiating table.

3. A war on specific targets with the aim of destroying the regime's assault capabilities, especially against the "Zionist regime."



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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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