TEHRAN, Iran – Iran's defense minister said Wednesday that his country would strike back with long-range missiles if Israel attacks its nuclear facilities as the Jewish state did against a nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981.
"We will strike Israel with all weapons at our disposal if the Zionist regime ventures to do so," Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani (search) said in comments carried by the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
He said Iran's long-range Shahab-3 missile, which has a range of about 810 miles, would be one of the weapons used. Israel is about 600 miles west of Iran.
In 1981, Israeli warplanes destroyed an Iraqi reactor under construction at Osirak (search), which Israel suspected would be used to produce nuclear weapons.
Both Israel and the United States believe that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, but Tehran (search) says its nuclear program is to produce energy as its oil resources decline.
Earlier this month, Iran signed an accord with the International Atomic Energy Agency (search), opening its nuclear facilities to inspections. The signing came after months of pressure from European nations and a U.S. push for Iran to be slapped with sanctions.