Lebanon News

Iran could strike at U.S. bases in region if Israel attacks: Hezbollah

Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah speaks during a televised interview, Monday, Sept. 3, 2012. (The Daily Star/TV grab)

BEIRUT: Hezbollah warned Monday that U.S. military bases in the region could be targeted by Iran if Israel launched an attack on nuclear facilities in the Islamic Republic.

"Iran would not be forgiving if Israel attacks [Iran’s nuclear facilities]. The response would not be limited to Israel but all U.S. military bases in the region could be targets of attacks," Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s secretary general, said in a rare face-to-face interview with Almayadeen television.

He added that the United States would bear responsibility for any action taken by the Jewish state.

Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have repeatedly spoken of the possibility of a unilateral strike against Iran, while the U.S. has said that it will not let Iran obtain an atomic bomb.

The head of the Lebanese resistance also said his group would never resort to the use of chemical weapons in any future war with Israel but said its present arsenal was enough to deal a severe blow to the Jewish state.

"We don’t have chemical weapons and we don’t need to use them ... because [Israel] has factories, sites and reserves and our rockets are capable of destroying them," Nasrallah said.

He said it was religiously unacceptable for his group to use chemical weapons.

Several reports have emerged over the past year of U.S. and Israeli concerns of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile falling in to the hands of Hezbollah. In July 2012 Netanyahu voiced concern that a chaotic regime collapse in Lebanon’s neighbor could lead to Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile falling into the hands of Hezbollah.

Nasrallah, who said in August his group could deal a severe blow to Israel should it launch an assault on Lebanon, reiterated the threat of retaliation, saying even a first strike that wiped out many of the group’s missile sites would still leave enough rockets to harm hundreds of thousands of Israelis.

"We don’t have a mighty power but we have a power that is effective. The available power today can represent a powerful deterrent force,” the leader of Hezbollah said.

He also reiterated how the missiles his group possessed advanced targeting and range capabilities.

"The rockets of the Islamic resistance can strike at any target in occupied Palestine [Israel] that you can think of,” Nasrallah said.

He also said the capabilities of his group should not be undermined and that the resistance remained on alert for any possible confrontation.

"Since 2000 until today, there is a perception that Hezbollah is preoccupied and there are a thousand issues that it has to deal with. However, we have a big team, the resistance’s team, which is not involved in domestic affairs but works day and night on training, arming, planning, and is concerned with keeping itself prepared [for any eventuality]," he said.

Asked about repercussions on the party as a result of the Syria crisis, Nasrallah said: “We are comfortable, reassured and confident, based on an objective view of what is going on in the world in terms of economic conditions, the changes ... in Syria, Lebanon and North Africa.”

"We have a very optimistic view of the future," he added.

Nasrallah also warned that U.S. bases in the region could be targeted if Iran's nuclear facilities were targeted by the Jewish state.

"Iran would not be forgiving if Israel attacks. The response would not be limited to Israel but all U.S. military bases in the region could be targets of attacks," he said.





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