Commander: Biggest threat to Iran is 'soft war'

August 3, 2012 - 4:39 PM

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The chief commander of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard said Friday that the biggest threat to his country is a "soft war" launched by enemies to force the Islamic Republic to give up its nuclear program.

In comments posted on the Guard's website, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said Iran is in a "sensitive and fateful period" in its history. He did not define the term "soft war," but it likely implies non-military measures like economic sanctions, espionage and attacks on computer networks.

Tehran says the West has begun a "heavy battle" with Iran by tightening sanctions over its disputed nuclear program, but has vowed that sanctions and diplomatic pressure will not force it to recalculate its plans or halt the nuclear program.

The West accuses Iran of seeking a nuclear weapon, a charge Tehran denies.

Also on Friday, Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Israeli defense officials of trying to shirk their responsibility in preparing for a possible attack on Iran, the Jewish state's arch enemy.

Anonymous officials present at the closed meeting were quoted as saying that Netanyahu accused them of worrying about a possible government inquiry into their role in a possible strike over the nuclear program.

According to the report, Netanyahu told Israeli officials he would prefer the U.S., not Israel, strike Iran, but saw it as highly unlikely the U.S. would do so in the current climate. The Prime Minister also expects a missile strike on Israel from Iran in either case, the report said, implying he prefers an Israeli strike.

The Prime Minister's office did not immediately comment.