Iran commander 'welcomes' possible Israeli strike

August 19, 2012 - 9:59 PM
Mideast Iran Israel Palestinians

Iranian demonstrators burn an Israeli and British flag during a an annual pro-Palestinian rally marking Quds (Jerusalem) Day, on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan, at the Enqelab-e-Eslami (Islamic Revolution) St. in Tehran, Iran, Friday, Aug. 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A senior Iranian commander says a possible Israeli airstrike against his country's nuclear facilities is "welcome" because it would give Iran a reason to retaliate and "get rid of" the Jewish state "forever."

The remarks by Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guard's air force, were reported Saturday by the official IRNA news agency.

Hajizadeh says in the event of an Israeli strike, Iran's response would be "swift, decisive and destructive." But he also claims Israeli threats of a strike are just part of a psychological war against Iran.

His comments are the latest in a war of words between the archenemies.

Israel considers Iran an existential threat because of its suspect nuclear program. Iran denies seeking atomic weapons, saying its uranium enrichment is for peaceful purposes only.