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Iran to give 'awe-inspiring' response to any attack
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A senior Iranian commander said on Tuesday that the Islamic republic's armed forces are prepared to deliver an "awe-inspiring" response to any attack against the country, Iran's Press TV satellite channel reported.

Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said no "strategic mistake" by Israel or the United States would be overlooked by Iran.

During a speech at the IRGC headquarters, Jafari said the United States and Israel's "inability to face Iran's defensive capabilities has caused them to resort to psychological warfare."

"The enemy knows that the IRGC is prepared to defend the country and the Islamic revolution," Jafari said, "That is why no one is able to launch any attack against Iran."

The New York Times reported Friday that US military believed a major military exercise by Israel earlier this month was a rehearsal for a potential bomb attack on Iran's nuclear sites.

Some American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military's capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran's nuclear program.

More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighter jets participated in the maneuvers, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece during the first week of June, US officials said.

The exercise also involved Israeli helicopters that could be used to rescue drowned pilots. The helicopters and refueling tankers flew more than 900 miles (1,450 km), which is about the same distance between Israel and Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, American officials said.

A spokesman of the Israeli military said Israel's air force "regularly trains for various missions in order to confront and meet the challenges posed by the threats facing Israel," declining to discuss details of the exercise.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who visited Washington in early June, said "the Iranian threat must be stopped by all possible means," indicating that military resort can not be excluded.

His remarks about Iran's nuclear threat are believed to be the strongest ever the Israeli leader has made on the issue.

(Xinhua News Agency June 25, 2008)

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