An Iranian senior military commander said Sunday the Islamic Republic would launch a pre-emptive strike on Israel were it to perceive an imminent attack. He added that all U.S. military bases in the region would be targeted, as well.
Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the aerospace division of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, responded to indications by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his country would attack the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities if it felt the country was close to developing a nuclear weapon by warning that such an attack could lead to World War III.
“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 on state television, Reuters reported. "In that case, unpredictable and unmanageable things would happen, and it could turn into a World War Three."
Iran’s nuclear program has long been the subject of much controversy, with Israel, the U.S., and their allies charging it is a clandestine operation to develop atomic weapons, and the Islamic Republic maintaining it is designed purely for civilian energy purposes.
The U.S. and European Union have placed a number of economic sanctions on Iran, targeting its energy and financial sectors, even as the Islamic Republic continues to enrich uranium.
Nevertheless, the U.S. has maintained that Iran is far from developing nuclear weapons. While Israel has suggested it might launch a unilateral military strike on Iran, the U.S. has also maintained a policy based on diplomacy and economic sanctions.