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Iran Says Missiles Can Reach Israeli Atomic Sites

Mohammad Ali Jafari, head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards
TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iranian missiles can reach Israeli nuclear sites, a top military commander has said, after persistent speculation that Israel could target facilities involved in Iran's atomic work.

Iran has long said it has missiles that could reach the Jewish state but has not generally mentioned specific targets. Military analysts question whether Iranian missiles have the ability to hit targets at such ranges with great accuracy.

Israel, believed to be the only Middle East state with a nuclear arsenal, has described Iran's nuclear ambitions as a threat to its existence. Israeli and Western officials accuse Iran of seeking to build atomic bombs, a charge Tehran denies.

"All the nuclear facilities in different parts of the land under the occupation of the Zionist regime are in the reach of Iran's missile defenses," the commander in chief of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said.

Iranian officials often refer to Israel's government, which Tehran does not recognize, as the "Zionist regime".

In comments carried by the ISNA news agency, Jafari added, "The doctrine of our system is defensive, but in the case of any action by enemies, including the Zionist regime, we will respond firmly using missiles and deter attacks."

Israel, like the United States, has not ruled out resorting to military action, if diplomacy fails to end the row over the Islamic republic's nuclear plans.

Iran has in the past warned that it would strike Israel and U.S. bases, if it was attacked, although Iranian officials have dismissed the prospects of such military action. Tehran says its nuclear work is aimed at generating electricity not making bombs.

"Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran has missiles with the range of 2,000 kilometers, and based on that all Israeli land including that regime's nuclear facilities are in the range of our missile capabilities," Jafari said.

He said neither the United States nor the Israeli military "had the ability" to strike Iran.

Military analysts say Iranian missiles often draw on technology from North Korea or other countries and also say it is unclear how accurate that Iranian weaponry was.