A top Iranian officer warned on Saturday that Iran would react with missile counterpunches in case the country was attacked, state television reported.
"It is worldwide known that Iran has ballistic missiles with a range of 2,000 km...We will never launch initiative attacks on any country, but we will defend our country with all useful means if attacked," Yahya Rahim Safavi, the commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, was quoted as saying.
Safavi's comments came as the Iranian nuclear dispute is escalating into a looming crisis.
Iran on Jan. 10 resumed nuclear research work in defiance of warnings of the European Union, which has been acting as a broker of the Iranian nuclear issue since 2003.
Iran also turned down a Russian proposal to transfer its uranium enrichment to Russia.
Under calls from the European trio of Britain, France and Germany, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)'s board of governors has decided to hold an emergency meeting on Feb. 2 to vote for referring Iran's nuclear file to the U.N. Security Council.
Iran vowed that it would never give in even to the U.N. Security Council, threatening to resume uranium enrichment at the industrial level if its case was referred.
Israel has recently said it would never accept an Iran equipped with nuclear weapons while the United States repeatedly rejected to rule out military attacks as the last resort. Both countries have said they would launch preemptive attacks on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Iran's upgraded Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile has an alleged range of 2,000 km, which makes Tehran capable of striking Israel or any other enemy target in the region.
(Xinhua News Agency January 30, 2006)