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February 4, 2014 2:46 pm

Report: Iranian Defense Minister Says Iran Prepared for Crushing, Swift Response to Any U.S., Israeli ‘Threat’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. Photo: U.S. Department of State.

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan threatened a swift, crushing response to any move by the U.S. or Israel that the Islamic Republic interprets as aggression, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported on Tuesday.

“The Westerners are angry at us and they use the nuclear issue as a worn-out pretext to leave an impact on our nation. Certainly, our nation will not be affected and is fully ready to confront any arrogant move of the US or its little child, Israel,” Dehqan said in Tehran.

According to Fars, “the Iranian minister advised the Americans to see the Iranian nation’s resolve, understand its greatness and shift their path to move on the right path.”

Fars positioned Dehqan’s statement as a response to an interview given by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, in January, in which he said that a military option to address the Iranian nuclear threat was still on the table “if Iran did not live up to its nuclear commitments under the Geneva deal.”

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In November, Iran and a group of world powers, known as the “P5+1,” reached an interim, six-month agreement, that was ratified last month, to allow international energy inspectors to access Iran’s nuclear program, in exchange for rolling back some of the economic sanctions against the regime.

However, the U.S., which is seen as the lead broker of the deal, has warned that any misstep or faltering in its commitments by the Iranian regime would be countered with renewed and tougher sanctions, and, as Fars noted, the U.S. has stressed that the military option will always remain available to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

The specter of a resurgent Iran has created new alliances within the Middle East and Persian Gulf, with the normally hostile regimes of Saudi Arabia and Israel working in concert to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sharply criticized the agreement as not going far enough, as it has allowed Iran to retain its nuclear equipment, particularly hundreds of new centrifuges that can create weapons-grade fuel.

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