Vol. 4 Num 205 Tue. December 23, 2003  

'Israel will dig own grave if it attacks Iranian nuclear sites'

Israel "will dig its own grave" if it attacks Iranian nuclear sites, the head of the Iranian air force General Seyed Reza Pardis told a news agency close to the Islamic regime's hardliners.

"The threats of the Zionist regime hold no value for us," Pardis was quoted as saying by Mehr news agency in reaction to statements by Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz.

"The (Zionist) regime knows that the armed forces of the Islamic republic, in particular our air force, have such high capabilities... that it would be digging its own grave in the region if it launches military attacks against Iran," Pardis said.

"An attack (by Israel) would have serious consequences beyond the imagination of Israeli leaders," he warned.

Jerusalem-based Haaretz newspaper on Sunday quoted Iranian-born Mofaz as telling Israel radio's Persian service last week that Israel is considering an operation to destroy the nuclear capabilities of Iran, now regarded as the Jewish state's number one enemy following the fall of Saddam Hussein.

If the operation is launched, "the necessary steps will be taken so that Iranian citizens will not be harmed," the daily quoted Mofaz as saying.

"Whether these threats are serious or not, our armed forces are totally prepared to defend sensitive sites and our country's air space," Pardis countered.

Iran's reformist President Mohammad Khatami reacted to Mofaz's threats by saying simply: "They (Israel) will go adrift."

Meir Dagan, head of Israel's Mossad overseas intelligence service, told lawmakers last month that Iran's nuclear programme posed the biggest threat to the existence of the Jewish state since its creation in 1948.