Following weeks of reports of Israeli preparations for attacking Iran's nuclear installations, the Tehran Times warned Wednesday of a strong Iranian response.
In an article headlined "Just One Wrong Move," the English-language newspaper splashed on its front page a map of purported missile targets in Israel. "An intensification of the Israeli military threats against Iran seems to suggest that the Zionist regime has forgotten that Iran is more than capable of hitting them from anywhere," the state-owned newspaper observed.
Tehran Times responded specifically to a Washington Post report, picked up by Israel's Yedioth Ahronot Tuesday, that Israel’s June 8 air strike on Syria had been “a direct message” to Iran. Yedioth Ahronot claimed Israel was now demanding that the US seek a complete end to Iran's ballistic missile capacity.
Tehran Times quoted Major General Mohammad Bagheri, Chief of Staff of Iran’s armed forces, that Iran did not underestimate the threat. "At the strategic level, we do not intend to strike anyone,” he said, “but at the operational and tactical level we are ready for a decisive response, and a quick and tough offensive against the enemy.”
An old Russian Sukhoi 24 warplane in Iran's Shiraz airfield with its range of armaments.
The article concluded with a quotation from a 2013 speech by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. "They are threatening to strike militarily, but I think they know it, and if they do not know it, they must know that if they make a mistake, the Islamic Republic will destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa.”
IRGC-affiliated Tasnim news agency Wednesday ran an article on equipping Iranian fighter jets with cruise missiles, thought to be the Hoveizeh, allegedly with a 1500km range. Headlined "Sharp Blade of Iran's Fencer [Sukhois] on Israel's Neck,” the piece rehashed a plan announced in 2018 to fit ageing Russian-made Sukhoi-22 and Sukhoi-24 jets with Cruise missiles.
There is no independent confirmation of Iran's claim about fitting the warplanes with a Russian-copy cruise missile. The announcement could have been made amid nuclear talks and Israeli threats.
This time Tasnim splashed a map showing the possible range of Iran's airplane-launched cruise missiles, all the way to Europe.
Map published by Tasnim news agency showing possible range of Iran's cruise missile.
Israeli media say Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday presented a timeline for attacking Iran to American officials. According to the Jerusalem Post, Gantz met no opposition. Israeli media have claimed planning is intensifying, as talks in Vienna continue with the aim of reviving Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, with the aim of decisively curbing not just Tehran's atomic program but its missile defense.
The New York Times Saturday claimed Israel had consulted with the US on two previous occasions before launching attacks, the attack on June 23 against a centrifuge-parts manufacturing facility near Karaj and an explosion on September 26 at a Revolutionary Guards facility to the west of Tehran that killed two.
Iran subsequently restricted access to the Karaj site by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), as it reviewed security. The IAEA announced Wednesday Tehran had agreed to allow agency inspectors to service monitoring equipment at the site.