Iranian army 'alone' can destroy Israel — commander

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Updated 20 April 2013
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Iranian army 'alone' can destroy Israel — commander

TEHRAN: Iran’s army “alone” could destroy Israel, army commander General Ataollah Salehi said on Thursday, responding to boasts by the Jewish state that its military that could attack its archfoe on its own.
“Our message to this illegitimate regime (Israel) is the same, we do not need to utilize all of Iran’s military forces,” Salehi said on the sidelines of the Islamic republic’s annual Army Day. “The army ... alone is able to destroy Israel.”
His comments come after Israeli chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz on Tuesday said the Jewish state’s military was capable of attacking Iran on its own without foreign support.
Asked in an interview on public radio if the military could wage attacks on Iran “alone” — without the support of countries such as the United States — Gantz replied: “Yes, absolutely.”
Israel believes the Islamic republic, which has issued many bellicose statements about the Jewish state, is working to achieve a military nuclear capability and has not ruled out a military strike to prevent this happening.
Iran denies it is developing an atomic bomb and says it needs its nuclear program of uranium enrichment for peaceful medical and energy purposes.
Israel is widely believed to be the Middle East’s sole nuclear-armed state, albeit undeclared.
Since the 1979 Islamic revolution Iran has had two military forces — the regular army and the elite Revolutionary Guards Corps, which controls the ballistic missile program is believed by Western military experts to be the more powerful and the better equipped of the two.
During Thursday’s military parade, Tehran displayed what it said were three newly-developed unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones.
“The Sarir (throne) drone is a stealth, with a long range flight capability and is equipped with a cameras and air-to-air missiles,” air defense commander Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili said as the aircraft went on display along with two other new drones, the Hazem-3 (firm) and Mohajer-B (immigrant).
Iran says it is developing drones to be used for surveillance as well as for attacks.
It regularly boasts of advances in the military and scientific fields.


Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

Ali Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper. (Supplied)
Updated 15 November 2018
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Another Turkish journalist jailed over Gulen links

  • About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial

ISTANBUL: A court sentenced Turkish journalist Ali Unal to 19 years in jail on Wednesday on a charge of being a leader in the network accused of carrying out a failed coup in July 2016, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
The ruling followed a sustained crackdown in the wake of the coup attempt, but also came amid steps by the government that appear aimed at improving ties with the US and Europe, strained by the sweeping campaign of arrests.
Unal was chief writer at the now-defunct Zaman newspaper, widely seen as the flagship media outlet for the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara says orchestrated the attempted putsch. Gulen denies any involvement.
Speaking by video link from jail to the court in the western province of Usak, Unal denied being a founder or leader of the network and denied involvement in the putsch, Anadolu said.
“I have no link with any terrorist organization,” he said, adding that he had spoken five or six times to Gulen and that he was being tried over his writing.
He was sentenced to 19 years and six months for “leading an armed terrorist group.” Six other Zaman journalists were convicted on similar charges in July.
About 250 people were killed in the coup attempt and in the subsequent crackdown, Turkey jailed 77,000 people pending trial. Authorities also sacked or suspended 150,000 civil servants and military personnel and shut down dozens of media outlets.Illustrating the scale of its actions, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday his ministry had dismissed 23 percent of its career personnel over links to Gulen.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said some journalists helped nurture terrorists with their writing, and that the crackdown is needed to ensure stability in a NATO member bordering Syria, Iraq and Iran. Critics say Erdogan has used the crackdown to muzzle dissent and increase his own power. The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, has also criticized the crackdown. The verdict came a day after another court threw out the conviction of former Wall Street Journal reporter Ayla Albayrak, annulling a verdict sentencing her to two years in prison in absentia on charges of carrying out propaganda for Kurdish militants.