By Jeremy Herb
An Iranian senior commander warned Sunday that Iran would target U.S. bases in the region if it was attacked, and that the conflict could spiral into “World War III.”
Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a brigadier general in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, said that any attack on Iran could force a pre-emptive attack on Israel if Tehran was sure that a strike was imminent, according to Reuters, which quoted the general from Iran’s state-run Al-Alam television.
“We cannot imagine the Zionist regime starting a war without America's support. Therefore, in case of a war, we will get into a war with both of them and we will certainly get into a conflict with American bases," Hajizadeh said.
The commander’s remarks come as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is speaking at this week’s United Nations General Assembly. Ahmadinejad told reporters Monday that Iran did “not take seriously” the treats from Israel, according to Reuters.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also speaking at the U.N. this week, has ramped up his rhetoric about a potential Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in order to stop its nuclear program.
“While we are fully ready to defend ourselves, we do not take such threats seriously," Ahmadinejad said, speaking through an interpreter.
The United States, Israel and its allies suspect Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, while Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
The Obama administration has said it will take no options off the table to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, but it has favored diplomacy and lobbied against an Israeli strike on Iran, prompting criticism from Netanyahu.
Hajizadeh claimed that Israel is “militarily incapable of confronting Iran.”
"Our response will exceed their expectations," he said, according to Reuters. "Their assessment of our missile capabilities is wrong. Our response will not only be missiles."