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Iran Utters Peculiar Warning to Israel

Monday, August 27, 2001 | Tag Cloud Tags: ,

Adopting unusual language, Iran has issued a warning that if Israel were to attack Syria or Lebanon in reaction to Hizb'Allah cross-border actions, Tehran would retaliate in an "astounding and unexpected" way.

Those were the words of Iran's defense minister, Rear Adm. Ali Shamkhani, quoted in an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper AL-WATAN on Saturday. Shamkhani said Iran would not leave its "strategic ally Syria" or Lebanon to face Israeli attacks alone.

"This is very normal and our response would be astounding and unexpected," he told the Arabic daily. According to the report, Shamkhani did not say what form the retaliation might take, but added that "not all what is known could be said, and not all what is said is reported."

American and Israeli intelligence sources have followed closely Iran's development of medium-range ballistic missiles, including the Shahab-3, which has a reported range of 810 miles that is capable of reaching Israel. The US condemned a July test of the missile. A longer range version under development is believed capable of reaching much of Europe.

In addition, Israeli security sources have seen growing evidence that Iran and Hizb'Allah are funneling weapons and bomb-making know-how and tactics into Palestinian areas to be used in the renewed intifada. The increased Palestinian use of roadside bombs and multiple bombs exploded in sequence - trademark devices employed by Hizb'Allah against the IDF in south Lebanon - indicate that Palestinian terrorists have been trained and supplied by the radical Islamic Shi-ite militia. There also are efforts underway by Hizb'Allah to arm and train radical elements in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon as part of a plan to open a new northern front in the uprising.

Meanwhile, as a bulwark against Iranian or Iraqi aggression, the six Persian Gulf nations that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council signed the region's first mutual defense pact this weekend, pledging to come to each other's aid in case of attack. The agreement also envisions an early warning system and an expanded rapid deployment force.

The council states consist of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. The Gulf Cooperation Council was formed in 1981 as a loose political, economic and military alliance, in the aftermath of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. All six oil-rich countries rely heavily on the US and other Western powers for protection - even more so since the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq. The United Arab Emirates also has a territorial dispute with Iran over several Persian Gulf islands.

Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

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