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Thu 26 Apr 2007 02:51 PM

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Iran threatens US, Israel strikes

Minister warns of retaliation against Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf if Iran is attacked.

Iran will strike U.S. interests around the world and Israel if attacked over its disputed nuclear programme, a senior official was quoted on Thursday by the official IRNA news agency as saying.

"Nowhere would be safe for America with [Iran's] long-range missiles... we can fire tens of thousands of missiles every day," said Mohammad Baqer Zolghadr, the deputy interior minister in security affairs.

"With long-range missiles Iran can also threaten Israel as America's ally."

Iran says its Shahab-3 missile with a range of 1,250 miles (2,000 km) is capable of hitting Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf.

The West fears Iran wants to make an atomic bomb but Tehran says its atom activities are aimed only at generating electricity. The United States says it wants a diplomatic solution to the dispute, but has not ruled out military action.

In Ankara, the European Union's foreign policy chief Javier Solana said he did not expect a "great breakthrough" in his talks with Iran on Thursday over Tehran's nuclear programme. Solana and Iran's top negotiator Ali Larijani made progress on Wednesday at their Ankara talks, which are aimed at ending a standoff over Iran's uranium enrichment programme.

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