Special Dispatch Series – No. 1820
January 23, 2008
Iranian Website: In Response to an Israeli Attack, Iran Can, With Syria‘s Help, Wipe Out Half of Israel
Following reports on Israel’s January 17, 2008 test of the Jericho III missile, which has a range of 4,500 km, the Iranian website Tabnak, which is affiliated with Iranian Expediency Council secretary and former Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander Mohsen Rezai, wrote that the missile’s addition to Israel’s arsenal does not change the balance of power between Israel and Iran.
The website stated that in the event of a conflict with Israel, Iran would use its strategic alliance with Syria to fire missiles at Israel from Syrian territory. It also hinted that, in addition to assistance from Syria, any attack by Israel would also bring retaliation by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah. 
Further, in an interview on Al-Jazeera TV, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the Israeli missile test, saying that “even before this missile test, the Zionist regime enjoyed this military technology, because of its support from several powers. But such measures will not improve its situation, and will not prevent its fall. The Zionist regime has lost the rationale on which its existence was based,and all nations identify it as criminal. Therefore, it will not achieve legitimacy for its existence through threats and sowing fear.”
The following are the main points of the Tabnak article: 
“…The message to Iran from Israel‘s test of the new Jericho III missile is that this missile is, according to Israel, capable of travelling 4,500 km and striking any point in Iran. If these statements are true, then the Israelis have made several fundamental mistakes in sending [this] threatening message to Iran…:
“1. Iran’s defense strategy towards any type of possible attack, by Israel or by the U.S., is based on [the assumption] that both are capable [of carrying out] a missile attack and an aerial attack on Iranian targets. Iran has never denied that Israel and the U.S. are capable [of carrying out] a missile or aerial attack on it.
“2. The fundamental assumption of Iran‘s strategy is that [even] if Israel did not have long-range missiles aimed at Iran, the U.S. would arm it with long-range strategic missiles as soon as it could.
“3. Any country determines, and deploys, its strategic missile launching system based on its geographical breadth. Accordingly, Israel automatically comes up against a difficult limitation: While Iran‘s area is 1,648,195 [square] km, the area of ‘the regime that occupies Jerusalem‘ [i.e. Israel] is 26,323 [square] km, and if we subtract the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, [this area] shrinks to 20,150 [square km]. This means that [even] if Israel can fire 100 missiles a day at Iran, and hit 100 cities, Iran can [launch] thousands of missiles, and with them eradicate half of Israel. For this reason, the missile balance between the sides will end up in Iran‘s favor.
“4. In the event of an attack on Iran, if the Iran-Syria Joint Strategic Defense Agreement is implemented, Iran need not launch long-range missiles from its territory, [but rather] will be able to face Israel with a wave of missile attacks from [missiles with] a maximum range of 500 km, and with much higher explosive potential. At the same time, [even] if we leave out reciprocal attacks by the Islamic resistance in Lebanon [i.e. Hizbullah], Iran and Syria know very well that an attack on Iran will bring in its wake an attack on Syria, and that an attack on Syria will bring in its wake an attack on Iran – and that in both situations, the third target or the parallel [target] are the Islamic Resistance [organizations] in Lebanon and Palestine. If, prior [to such an attack], Iran employs joint defense measures, and arms itself with a missile defense system through cooperating with Syria, Israel will beyond a doubt receive a crushing response if it attacks Iran.
“5. [The placement of] Iran‘s missile sites is based on the doctrine of irregular warfare. Accordingly, neither Israel nor the U.S. can take out Iran‘s missile sites in a single surprise attack. For the same reason, Iran’s strategic missile defense doctrine benefits from the advantage of [territorial] depth, particularly because Iran can use at least 400,000 square km of its territory as an effective area for aiming [its missiles] at Israel, since it has the benefit of mountainous topography, not a plain.
“6. In the past decade, Iran has focused on developing long-range missiles with a range of 3,000 km, in order to benefit from deterrent defense power in the face of any possible Israeli attack.  The Israelis know that because [Iran‘s missiles have attained] a range of 2,500 km, they are in Iran‘s range of fire, and [they also know that] the shorter the missile’s range, the greater its explosive power. For this reason, Iran‘s missiles have a very great explosive power.
“Therefore, it can be explicitly said that Israel‘s recent missile test, on January 17, changes Iran‘s missile defense balance [against Israel] not one whit, and does not impinge on a single one of its defense doctrines… For this reason, this missile test does not create a new situation or [new] result, in any arena of possible confrontation between Iran and Israel…
“Thus [it appears that] the real idea behind this Israeli missile test is psychological warfare [in order to affect] public opinion in Israel, and not psychological warfare against Iran.”
 For more on the strategic Iran-Syria alliance, see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 380, “The Strategic Alliance Between Iran and Syria – Military and Economic Aspects,” August 14, 2007, http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=ia&ID=IA38007, and MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1812, “Syrian Government Officials Call on Arab Countries to Deepen Relations with Iran,
 In an August 9, 2007 article posted on the IRGC website Basirat, IRGC political bureau head Yadollah Javani called Hizbullah “one of Iran‘s strategic backup [tools] in the region.”
 Kayhan (Iran), January 20, 2008.
 Tabnak (Iran), January 20, 2008.
 For more on Iran‘s missile systems, see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 407, “Iran‘s Response to Western Warnings: ‘First Strike,’ ‘Preemptive Attack,’ Long-Range Ballistic Missiles, ‘Asymmetric [Guerilla] Warfare,'”, November 28, 2007, http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=ia&ID=IA40707.