Tehran: In the event of war with Israel, the United States (US) bases in Iran will also be a target, chief of Revolutionary Guard`s aerospace division, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh reportedly said on Sunday.
The recent turn of events took place after US reaffirmed its commitment to preventing Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons and Iran acknowledged the probability of war with Israel for the first time, claiming it will destroy the Jewish state.
Hajizadeh said no Israeli attack can happen without the support of its most important ally, the United States, making all US military bases a legitimate target.
"For this reason, we will enter a confrontation with both parties and will definitely be at war with American bases should a war break out," Hajizadeh said in remarks that were posted on the website of Iran`s state Al-Alam TV. US facilities in Bahrain, Qatar and Afghanistan would be targeted, he said.
"There will be no neutral country in the region," Hajizadeh said. "To us, these bases are equal to US soil."
The US Fifth fleet is based in Bahrain and the US has a heavy military presence in Afghanistan.
The Iranian warning appears an attempt to reinforce the potential wider consequences of an attack by Israel. The message is not only intended for Washington, but to its Gulf Arab allies that are fearful of a regional conflict that could disrupt oil shipment and cripple business hubs in places such as Dubai and Qatar`s capital Doha.
It also comes during a major show of naval power in the Gulf by US-led forces taking part in military exercises, including mine-sweeping drills. The US Navy claims the maneuvers are not directly aimed at Iran, but the West and its regional allies have made clear they would react against attempts by Tehran to carry out threats to try to close critical Gulf oil shipping lanes in retaliation for tighter sanctions.
Despite Israeli hints of a military strike, Iran`s military commanders believe Israel is unlikely to take unilateral action against Iran. The Guard`s top commander, Gen Mohammad Ali Jafari, said last week that Iran believes the United States won`t attack Iran because its military bases in the Middle East are within the range of Iran`s missiles.
(With Agency Inputs)