TEHRAN (TheBlaze/AP) -- A top Iranian commander warned Sunday that "nothing will remain of Israel" should the Jewish state strike Tehran over its nuclear program.
Amid increased talk in recent weeks about a possible Israeli strike, Revolutionary Guard Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari sought to emphasize Iran's missile capability for retaliation and also suggested his country wouldn't hesitate to hit U.S. bases in the Middle East in the event of an American attack.
"Our response to Israel is clear," Jafari said at a Tehran news conference. "I think nothing will remain of Israel (should it attack Iran). Given Israel's small land area and its vulnerability to a massive volume of Iran's missiles, I don't think any spot in Israel will remain safe."
He said Iran's response to any attack will begin near the Israeli border. The Islamic Republic has close ties with militants in Gaza and Lebanon, both of whom have rocket arsenals that could be used for cross-border strikes.
He said he did not believe however that Israel would attack on its own. Should the U.S. launch a strike, Jafari suggested that Iran could respond with missile salvos at U.S. bases in the Gulf.
"The U.S. military bases sprawled around Iran are considered a big vulnerability. Even the missile shields that they have set up, based on information we have, could only work for a few missiles but when exposed to a massive volume of missiles, the shields will lose their efficiency and will not work," he said.
He also said that Iran warned that oil shipments through the strategic Strait of Hormuz will be in jeopardy if a war breaks out between Iran and the United States. Iranian officials have previously threatened to close the waterway, the route for a fifth of the world's oil, but less frequently in recent months.
"If a war breaks out where one side is Iran and the other side is the West and U.S., it's natural that a problem should occur in the Strait of Hormuz. Export of energy will be harmed. It's natural that this will happen," he said.
Gen. Jafari said that, if attacked, Iran will no longer be committed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, under whose terms U.N. inspectors visit Iranian nuclear sites. He said however that this does not mean that Iran would build a nuclear weapon.
"If the world and international organizations fail to prevent such an attack, it's natural that Iran's commitments (to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty) would naturally change and the situation would be different from the past. These are the risks and consequences that such an attack will bring about, and these matters would be a deterrent."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has continued to ratchet up warnings about Iran being permitted to develop nuclear capabilities, telling NBC's "Meet the Press" this week that the country is "guided by a leadership with an unbelievable fanaticism."
"I actually read this in the American press, they said, ‘Well, you know, if you take action, that’s a lot worse than having Iran with nuclear weapons.’ Some have even said that Iran with nuclear weapons would stabilize the Middle East…I think the people who say this have set a new standard for human stupidity," Netanyahu said.
Amid strained relationships with the Obama administration, Netanyahu hinted again in an interview late last week that if the U.S. won't act to stop Iran, Israel will.
“I hear those who say we should wait until the last minute. But what if the U.S. doesn’t act? It’s a question that must be asked,” he said.