Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani spoke on Al-Jazeera TV about the threats against Iranian nuclear facilities. The following are excerpts:
Shamkhani: Perhaps it will seem strange to you if I tell you that the American military presence near us does not strengthen the US, because this power, in certain circumstances, could be held hostage by us, and they know this very well. When I say this, I have proof. America is not alone in this region. We too are in this region, from Khost and Kandahar in Afghanistan to the Gulf. We could be in Iraq as well.
We will not sit idly by and wait to see what the others do to us. Moreover, some Iranian military commanders are convinced that the Americans do not have a monopoly on the preventive strikes of which they are talking.
We won't deal with these threats like the Iraqi Information Minister (Sahhaf), who kept saying his regime was ready to confront the attack. But it turned out these were empty statements. We are not like that.
As for destroying our nuclear programs, I tell you this is impossible for a basic reason: These programs are based on national knowledge, which cannot be destroyed by military means. In any event, we will treat any attack on our nuclear facilities as an attack on Iran in its entirety, and we will respond with all our might. Regarding Israel, we have no doubt that it is an evil entity, and that it cannot carry out any military operation without a green light from the US. The two are inseparable.
Anyhow, the realization of these threats would mean that because of our cooperation with the IAEA, information about our nuclear facilities was transferred to the aggressive party. This would mean that we were free of all our obligations.
There are three possible responses: The first, shared by some military circles in Iran, calls for a preemptive strike against the party that decides to harm us. Some support the option of immediate retaliation in response to any aggression. We cannot elaborate on the nature of this retaliation in the media, but we will prove what we say if we decide to. The last option, which should be accomplished quickly, is to prepare for defense against radiation from a possible nuclear attack. This is what we have recently called "atomic resistance."