Last updated: 3 February, 2012

Iran vows to respond to any oil, military threats

Iran has its “own threats” to respond to any military attack or sanctions against its oil exports, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Friday.

“In response to threats of oil embargo and war, we have our own threats which will be implemented at the right time, if necessary,” he said in a televised speech as he led traditional Friday prayers in Tehran.

His comments came amid heightened speculation that Israel — with or without US help — was contemplating air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities. The West has also ramped up sanctions aimed at severely curbing Iran’s vital oil exports.

Khamenei, who spoke as part of events marking the anniversary of his country’s 1979 Islamic revolution, focused on warnings by archfoe the United States that it was mulling “all options” — including war — to undercut Iran’s nuclear programme.

“They have threatened that all ‘options are on the table’… Threats of war are detrimental to the United States, and carrying out a war would be 10 times more detrimental for that country,” he said.

Khamenei also rounded on Israel.

“The Zionist regime is a cancerous tumour that must be cut out, and God willing it will be,” he said.

The leader said Iranian intervention had already delivered two military victories against Israel: in 2006, when the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon linked to Iran survived a 33-day Israeli onslaught; and in 2009 when Hamas in the Palestinian territories faced Israeli action.

“From now on we will support any group that will fight the Zionist regime,” he said, reiterating an oft-made line.