External Content

The following content is sourced from external partners. We cannot guarantee that it is suitable for the visually or hearing impaired.

By Hashem Kalantari
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran would "blow up the heart" of Israel if attacked by the Jewish state or the United States, a Revolutionary Guards official was quoted Friday as saying.
"Even if one American or Zionist missile hits our country, before the dust settles, Iranian missiles will blow up the heart of Israel," Mojtaba Zolnour said, according to IRNA news agency.
Zolnour is a deputy representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the elite Guards force. Iranian officials have previously said Tehran would retaliate in the event of an Israeli or U.S. attack.
Separately, a senior cleric predicted a new Palestinian uprising, after clashes at the flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque two weeks ago increased tension in Jerusalem, state television said.
"The Zionists have for the umpteenth time launched an attack on al-Aqsa mosque ... Know that with these crimes that you have now perpetrated the third intifada will take shape," Ahmad Khatami told Friday prayer worshippers in Tehran.
After the sermon, a few hundred people staged an anti-Israeli rally in central Tehran, a witness said.
Iran does not recognise Israel, which it calls the "Zionist regime." Israel regards Iran's nuclear program as an existential threat.
Earlier this year, a senior commander said Iranian missiles could reach Israeli nuclear sites. Israel is believed to be the only nuclear-armed Middle East state.
IRANIAN "VICTORY"
Israel has not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to end a dispute over Iran's nuclear ambitions, echoing U.S. policy, although Washington is engaged in a drive to resolve the issue through direct talks with Tehran.
The West suspects the Islamic state is covertly seeking to develop nuclear weapons, which Iran denies.
At talks in Geneva on October 1, Iran agreed with six world powers -- the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany -- to give U.N. experts access to a newly disclosed uranium enrichment plant south of Tehran.
Iran and Western powers described talks as constructive and a step forward. However, underlying tension was highlighted before the meeting when Iran test-fired missiles with ranges that could put Israel and regional U.S. bases within reach.
The Geneva talks are expected to win Iran a reprieve from more U.N. sanctions, although the West is likely to be wary of any attempt by Tehran to buy time to develop its nuclear work.
Khatami, a member of a powerful clerical body, said the meeting in Switzerland represented a "victory" for Iran.
"The Geneva conference was a very successful one and amounted to a victory for the Islamic Republic," Khatami said.
"Up until the conference they were constantly talking about sanctions and suspension, but when the conference was held there was no talk of either sanctions or suspension," he said, referring to demands that Iran halt sensitive nuclear work.
World powers at the next round of talks aim to press Iran for a freeze on expansion of enrichment as an interim step towards a suspension that would bring it major trade rewards. Iran has repeatedly rejected such demands.
(Writing by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Charles Dick)

Reuters