Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- An official source in the Iranian government has stated to Asharq Al-Awsat that his Tehran places the Israeli Dimona nuclear reactor on top of its list of targets if Iran comes under Israeli or US strike. In reply to a question on how Tehran views the threats of a military offensive on its nuclear and military facilities, the source told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We view the possibility of carrying out the threats against the Islamic Republic of Iran as extremely remote,” noting that the United States and Israel are “in a state of weakness” that does not qualify them to launch a new war on Iran.
The source, which has close connection to the Iranian government’s activities in the Middle East, said that “Tehran is aware that Israel and the United States want to target Iran, but we are also aware that while they actually have the option to launch war, they do not have the option to end it. This is America’s and Israel’s point of weakness. We know that there is no solution to this point of weakness, thanks to the importance of the Gulf region, America’s problems in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the (geographically) small area of the Zionist entity.
This official source, who spoke to Asharq Al Awsat on the condition of anonymity, because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said that the vital facilities in Israel will be bombarded, primarily the Dimona nuclear reactor. He added: “Israel and the United States want to wage war on Iran; yet Iran has multiple options of retaliation.” He pointed out that his country’s strategy of “retaliation against aggression” is ” to reach every area that will affect the enemy, regardless of its proximity or remoteness from the Iranian territories.”
In continuation of the hostile tone against the Gulf States, which some Iranian officials have used, this source expressed his country’s belief that “a state of satisfaction with the current state of no-war no-peace between Tehran and the Western nations prevails in most Gulf States.” He added: “We realize that most Gulf States do not want Israel or the United States to wage a military offensive on Iran, because they would sustain major losses from all aspects.” He pointed out that “there is also the possibility of political changes taking place [in the Gulf States], and so we are sure that these states are strongly opposed to war on Iran.”
Regarding his remark that some Gulf States are not in favor of a state of peace in the Gulf region, this Iranian source said that “The Gulf states fear any understanding between Iran and the United States. Assuming that Iran and the United states reached understanding and the problems between them were to solved, the majority of the Gulf states know that they will be the losers of such an eventuality. We in Iran are aware that some Gulf States are opposed to solving the differences between Iran and the United States, but this would be to their loss just as war would.”
Asked if Iran, which does not recognize Israel, may reach understanding with Israel in the future as part of a possible Iranian-US cooperation, this source said: “We do not recognize the Zionist entity in the first place. We believe that the United States is looking for a strong partner in the region as an alternative to its dependence on Israel in the future. We in Iran believe that the United States and the Western nations now view Israel more as a burden and that Israel is incapable of contributing to achieving peace in the Middle East.”
This Iranian source added that based on this, his country seeks to augment its presence in Al-Sham [Syria and Lebanon] in tandem with the expected decline of Israel’s influence in the region, particularly after his country joined the international nuclear club. He noted that Iran’s role will double in strength in the next five years through raising the level of cooperation with Syria and Lebanon on the military, security, political, cultural, and media levels and in other areas.
For his part, Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi said yesterday that the case of the three American nationals detained in Iran will be closed soon. In a statement to the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), he said: “The interrogations into the case of the three US nationals are nearing completion and the verdict will be handed down shortly.”
It is to be recalled that the Iranian authorities arrested Sarah Shourd, Joshua Fattal, and Shane Bauer as they crossed into Iranian territories in an area where there were no border markings during a hiking trip in Iraqi Kurdistan areas, as was reported. The mothers of the three American nationals were allowed to visit them for the first time in May, but despite hopes, they have not been released on humanitarian grounds. Earlier this month, Tehran rejected a call by US President Barack Obama to release the three American nationals. Tehran said that President Obama has no role in the legal process and that his efforts to secure their release will be doomed to failure. The three American nationals were charged with spying, but the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the main charge against them was illegal entry into Iran. The charge of spying has not been fully corroborated and the interrogation is continuing.