US official says Iran should not issue threats

ANKARA, Turkey - A senior U.S. official has dismissed Iran’s threats against NATO missile defense installations in Turkey, saying they benefit no one.

By (AP)

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Published: Tue 29 Nov 2011, 7:18 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 2:45 AM

An Iranian general said Saturday that Tehran will target NATO’s early warning radar in Turkey if the U.S. or Israel attacks the Islamic Republic.

Antony Blinken, national security adviser to U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden, told a teleconference briefing from Washington on Monday that “making threatening statements doesn’t serve anyone’s purpose, least of all the Iranians.”

Biden is due to visit Turkey this week.

“Turkey shares our goal of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran,” Blinken added, according to a transcript posted on the U.S. embassy website.

The West says Iran is developing nuclear weapons — a charge Iran denies.

Ankara agreed to host the radar in September as part of NATO’s missile defense system aimed at countering ballistic missile threats from its neighbor, Iran. Tehran says the radar is meant to protect Israel from Iranian missile attacks if a war breaks out with the Jewish state.

“Should we be threatened, we will target NATO’s missile defense shield in Turkey and then hit the next targets,” Iran’s semiofficial Mehr news agency quoted Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, a senior commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard as saying on Saturday.

Hajizadeh, the head of the Guards’ aerospace division, said the warning was part of a new defense strategy to counter what he described as an increase in threats from the U.S. and Israel.

Tensions have been rising between Iran and the West since the release of a report earlier this month by the International Atomic Energy Agency that said for the first time that Tehran was suspected of conducting secret experiments whose sole purpose was the development of nuclear arms.

On Tuesday, hardline Iranian students broke into the British Embassy in Tehran after Iran reduced diplomatic relations with Britain following London’s support of recently upgraded U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

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