Tehran (AFP) – Armed forces chief of staff General Hassan Firouzabadi has warned the Islamic republic’s arch-foes that Iran is prepared for a “decisive battle” if attacked, Fars news agency reported on Wednesday.
“We are ready for the decisive battle with America and the Zionist regime (Israel),” Fars quoted Firouzabadi as saying.
He also warned neighbouring nations not to allow any attack to be launched on Iran from their soil.
“We do not have any hostility towards regional states, but if we are ever attacked from the American bases in the region we will strike that area back,” he said.
Washington has many military bases in the region, including in Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said late last month that if diplomacy with Iran fails, “the military option of the United States is ready and prepared to do what it would have to do”.
But Firouzabadi accused the US of bluffing.
“Over the past decade, they brought their forces but came to the conclusion that they can’t attack us and left,” he said, dismissing the US military threat as nothing but a “political bluff”.
President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday the West should not have and delusions about using a military option.
“I say explicitly, if some have delusions of having any threats against Iran on their tables, they need to wear new glasses. There is no military option against Iran on any table in the world,” he said.
Iran is due to resume talks on Monday in Vienna with the P5+1 — Britain, France, the United States, Russia and China plus Germany — aimed at reaching a comprehensive nuclear accord following a landmark interim agreement struck in November.
Western nations have long suspected Iran of covertly pursuing nuclear weapons alongside its civilian programme, allegations denied by Tehran which insists its nuclear activities are entirely peaceful.
Neither the United States nor Israel has ruled out military action to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, if diplomacy fails.