Iranian military chief warns attack on Iran will spill over into region

In comments likely aimed at Israel or the US, General Bagheri claims Islamic Republic’s enemies are deterred by its military strength

Iran's chief of staff General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri speaking at a military parade September 21, 2016 (Screen capture: Press TV)
Iran's chief of staff General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri speaking at a military parade September 21, 2016 (Screen capture: Press TV)

The head of the Iranian armed forces warned on Saturday that any attack on Iran would lead to a broader regional conflagration.

“If they (the enemies of Iran) decide to launch war, certainly they will not decide about the time and place for its end,” Iran’s Chief of Staff Mohammad Hossein Bagheri said, according to the Fars news agency. 

“Certainly, they will not be able to keep this war contained to the Islamic Republic of Iran and they will not even be the decision-maker with regard to the priority of battle at Iran’s borders; this will be the Islamic Republic of Iran’s power that will dictate these issues to them,” he said, indicating Iran would take the fight to its enemies.

Bagheri also said the Islamic Republic’s adversaries are deterred by Iran’s military capabilities and are afraid of sending ground troops into Iran for fear of a high death toll.

The report did not say which countries with hostile relations with Iran the Iranian general was referring to, although Iranian political and military leaders often issue threats towards Israel and the US.

Israel has recently warned against Iranian efforts to expand its military footprint in Lebanon and Syria, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telling Russian President Vladimir Putin last month that Israel was willing to act to prevent a continued Iranian military presence in Syria.

Netanyahu has also held out the possibility of taking military action against Iran’s nuclear program, which Israel has maintained is geared towards developing nuclear weapons despite Iranian claims it is for peaceful purposes.

On Thursday, the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran continues to comply with the 2015 nuclear deal meant to curb its nuclear program, while rejecting Tehran’s claim that its military sites were off-limits to inspection, saying the agency needs access to all “relevant locations” if suspicions arise of possible hidden atomic activities.

AP contributed to this report.

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