TEHRAN, Iran – Iran would consider any military action against its nuclear facilities as the beginning of a war, the country's top Revolutionary Guards commander said in remarks published Friday.
Gen. Mohammed Ali Jafari's comments, carried by Iran's official news agency, come as speculation of possible military action against Iran's nuclear facilities mounts. The U.S. has said all options are on the table, and there are worries that Israel might be considering a unilateral strike. Both countries, which accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, say they favor a diplomatic solution.
Jafari said any country that attacks Iran would regret doing so.
"Any action against Iran is regarded as the beginning of war," Jafari said late Thursday, according to the IRNA news agency report. "Iran's response to any military action will make the invaders regret their decision and action."
In a newspaper interview last week, Jafari warned that if attacked, Iran would barrage Israel with missiles and choke off the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a narrow outlet for oil tankers leaving the Persian Gulf.
However, the general was also quoted as saying that he thinks a strike by Iran's adversaries is unlikely.
Iran's top diplomat, Manouchehr Mottaki, told The Associated Press in New York on Wednesday that the United States and Israel would not risk the "craziness" of attacking his country and possibly provoking a wider Middle East war or driving oil prices into uncharted heights.
An Israeli military exercise last month was seen as a strong warning to Iran. The U.S. and Israel say Iran's nuclear program is a cover for weapons production, while Iran insists it is only for power generation.
Mottaki called the speculation of a military strike part of "psychological warfare," according to Friday's IRNA report.
Iran's foreign minister has also signaled a willingness to restart talks with the West.
"Tehran is ready to settle Iran's nuclear issue in a comprehensive agreement," Mottaki was quoted as saying Thursday by the Web site of Iran's state TV.
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia — as well as Germany have offered new talks if Iran signals it is prepared to suspend its enrichment of uranium.