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Iran warns of "astonishing" retaliation if attacked
Iran warned it will carry out an "astonishing" retaliation if attacked by Israel or the United States, a top Revolutionary Guards commander has been quoted Wednesday by Shargh newspaper as saying.
"We will counter any stupid action by Israel and its master with firmness and in an astonishing way," Brigadier-General Mohammad-Ali Jafari told the paper.
The commander of the Revolutionary Guards' ground forces noted that Iran now has the capability to defeat any enemy if it came under attack.
"We pushed the Baathist enemy from our country within one-and-a-half years," he said, referring to the opening campaigns of the 1980-88 war with Iraq.
"With the experience and skills from that war and in the case of any invasion, the invaders will be defeated in less than one and a half months."
Over the past two weeks, the U.S. officials have toughened their tone against the Tehran, which U.S. President George W Bush added to the list of countries he call the "axis of evil".
Last week, the U.S. President said he wouldn’t rule out military strike against Iran, if it didn’t abandon its nuclear ambitions. Also U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said Iran was "right at the top of the list" of global trouble spots.
Cheney cautioned that Israel might launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, without being asked to.
U.S. will stand alone
Meanwhile, Malaysia warned the United States it would stand alone in the world if it launched any military strike against Iran.
The world community, including the United States war allies, have opposed such action by Washington, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday.
"Europe does not agree, the United States' close ally Britain does not agree, and I believe no one else will agree," Abdullah, who chairs the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference, said.
"The Islamic world will definitely not agree to an attack on Iran," he said.
"Talks should instead be held and made a priority, rather than military action."
Washington claims that Iran is covertly running a nuclear weapons program.
But Iran, dismissing claims it seeks poducing a nuclear bomb, announced in November the suspension of its nuclear enrichment programme following its talks with the EU big three; Britain, France and Germany.
Last month, Britain, France and Germany held new talks with the Islamic Republic, with the aim of reaching a long-term deal under which Iran would give up its nuclear ambitions.