Iran Downplays Netanyahu's Threats, Says Tehran Has 'Israel-Hitting' Missiles

Iran Downplays Netanyahu's Threats, Says Tehran Has 'Israel-Hitting' Missiles
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Iran Downplays Netanyahu's Threats, Says Tehran Has 'Israel-Hitting' Missiles

Iran Downplays Netanyahu's Threats, Says Tehran Has 'Israel-Hitting' Missiles

Iran possesses "Israel-hitting" missiles that are designed to target the "occupied territory", said Iranian Defense Ministry spokesman Reza Talaei

He explained that the system was built by local experts and included missiles named after General Qassem Soleimani, the mastermind behind the external operations of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who was killed in a US airstrike in Baghdad in 2020.

The spokesman further noted that the weapon system is designed proportionately according to the threats.

The government-affiliated ISNA agency reported to the spokesperson, "Iran is the region's prime power in defense."

"We were all by ourselves before the war, but today they say no equation in the region can be balanced without Iran; this is the defensive power that has been achieved."

Last August, the Defense Ministry announced the deployment of the Soleimani missile with a range of 1400 kilometers, three years after its development was announced in August 2020.

Tasnim agency reported last month that the Soleimani missile is the first tactical missile that operates with solid fuel and can easily reach Israel, pointing out the possibility of extending its range to 1700 - 1800 kilometers.

- Israeli Warning

Iran's Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdollahian dismissed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's statements regarding Iran in his UN General Assembly address.

Netanyahu emphasized at the United Nations last Friday the importance of confronting Iran with a "credible nuclear threat."

Later, his office retracted the statement, saying that he had misspoken and that his prepared text said, "credible military threat" instead of "credible nuclear threat," according to AFP.

Netanyahu, who has repeatedly used the UN stage to issue dark warnings about Tehran, briefly paused at the General Assembly when he appeared to threaten a nuclear attack if Tehran pursues its atomic bomb.

"Above all -- Iran must face a credible nuclear threat. As long as I'm prime minister of Israel, I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said.

In Tehran, official media reported that Abdollahian responded to the Israeli Prime Minister's statements by saying, "Nobody takes Netanyahu's threats seriously."

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York, he said the Zionist entity is now at its weakest. He noted that some international officials who attended the UN General Assembly session referred to Netanyahu's behavior as a "joke."

- Oman Initiative

Abdollahian commented shortly after meeting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York.

According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Abdollahian informed Guterres that Tehran continues its correspondence with the US side, aiming to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

He indicated that Iran continues to exchange messages with the US, and the Sultan of Oman's plan is still on the table, adding that if other parties are ready, Tehran is serious about returning to the nuclear deal.

Abdollahian discussed several issues with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, including the situation in Syria, the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the nuclear deal, and the long-term strategic cooperation agreement between Iran and Russia.

At a press conference in New York on Saturday, Lavrov stated that Iran has consistently denied any intentions of pursuing nuclear weapons, with their Supreme Leader even issuing a fatwa on the matter. He condemned the E3 decision to extend sanctions on Iran.

He asserted there was no evidence of Iran sending drones to Russia for its military operations in Ukraine.

Lavrov emphasized that Iran's missile program has nothing to do with the nuclear program, wondering how the next US administration would deal with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA).

- Nuclear Inspectors

Iran's recent move to revoke the licenses of some of the most experienced international inspectors monitoring its nuclear program has been met with global and regional calls for cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Iran's decision followed criticisms from IAEA Director Rafael Grossi regarding the lack of progress in investigations into activities at two covert sites and the halting of surveillance cameras.

Tehran refused to hand over IAEA surveillance camera recordings and removed other cameras.

Iran has been enriching uranium at 60 percent since April 2021, the same month negotiations began in Vienna aiming to revive the nuclear deal.

However, the Vienna track faltered weeks after the onset of the Russo-Ukrainian war.

The last attempts by the European Union to conclude the negotiations failed in September of the previous year.

Abdollahian told Guterres that things are on the right track if the IAEA operates within the technical framework. However, the situation deteriorates when others prioritize their political views over the agency's professional matters.

In February, Iran's former Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, warned that continuous Western pressure might force Tehran to act defensively and seek nuclear weapons.

Last Friday, the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, told journalists that Iran's decision to prevent UN nuclear inspectors suggests it is not interested in being a responsible actor regarding its atomic program.

The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), Mohammad Eslami, arrived in Vienna on Sunday to participate in the IAEA General Assembly meeting.

Tasnim reported that Eslami will meet Grossi during this visit.



NATO Chief Says the Alliance Is Adapting Its Nuclear Arsenal to Security Threats

 NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
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NATO Chief Says the Alliance Is Adapting Its Nuclear Arsenal to Security Threats

 NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)

In a rare reference to the Western nuclear arsenal, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday highlighted the alliance's efforts to adapt its capabilities to current security threats, taking note of Russia latest nuclear rhetoric and drills.

Talking to reporters before a two-day NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels that will include a gathering of the alliance's nuclear planning group, he called nuclear weapons NATO's "ultimate security guarantee" and a means to preserve peace.

While it is well known that the US has deployed nuclear bombs to several locations in Europe, NATO rarely talks about these weapons publicly.

Discussing what he called "the ongoing adaptation" of NATO's nuclear arsenal, Stoltenberg said the Netherlands in June declared the first F-35 fighter jets ready to carry nuclear arms and said the US was modernizing its nuclear weapons in Europe.

He described increasing Russian activity around its nuclear capabilities. "What we have seen over the last years and months is a dangerous nuclear rhetoric from the Russian side.... We also see some more exercises, nuclear exercises on the Russian side," he said.

On Tuesday, Russia said its troops had started the second stage of drills to practice the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons alongside Belarusian troops after what Moscow said were threats from Western powers.

Since sending thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said Moscow could use nuclear weapons to defend itself in extreme situations.

Russia accuses the US and its European allies of pushing the world to the brink of nuclear confrontation by giving Ukraine billions of dollars worth of weapons, some of which are being used against Russian territory.

Stoltenberg also referred also to the modernization of China's nuclear weapons, saying Beijing was expected to boost the number of nuclear missiles within a few years and many of them would be able to reach NATO territory.