Iran will target NATO’s missile shield in neighbouring Turkey if it is threatened by military action, the commander of the aerospace division of the Revolutionary Guards said on Saturday.
“We are prepared to first target the NATO defence missile shield in Turkey if we are threatened. And then we’ll move on to other targets,” Amir-Ali Hajizadeh was quoted as saying by the Mehr news agency.
Although Iranian officials have said several times they could retaliate with ballistic missiles against Israel if attacked, Hajizadeh’s remark was the first time the Revolutionary Guards spoke of targeting Turkey.
Speculation has intensified in Israel that it was preparing air strikes on Iran to hit nuclear facilities following a November 8 report by the UN nuclear watchdog strongly suggesting Tehran was researching atomic weapons.
Hajizadeh, whose unit is in charge of Revolutionary Guards’ missile systems, told a crowd of Basij militia members in the western city of Khorramabad that Iran’s stance now was to “threaten in the face of threats,” in line with a decree this month by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Turkey last year agreed to host an early warning radar system in its southeast as part of NATO’s shield which the United States says is aimed at thwarting missile threats from the Middle East, particularly Iran.
Hajizadeh said last Monday the Revolutionary Guards’ “greatest wish” was for Israel to attack Iran, so they could retaliate and relegate the Jewish state to “the dustbin of history.”