Compiled by Daily Star Staff / Agence France-Presse – 2007-04-06 23:12:53
LEBANON (April 06, 2007) — The United States would suffer losses if it attacked Iran but weight of numbers would ensure it eventually achieved air supremacy, Russian generals said on Thursday. Pakistan meanwhile rejected on Thursday a US media report that the US government was secretly aiding a militant group for attacks across the border in Iran as “tendentious.”
“According to our estimates, Iran’s air-defense system is pretty strong,” General Yuri Solovyov, head of Moscow’s air defenses, told a news conference. “Iran’s weapons, among others, include our anti-aircraft systems which allow them to fight all types of flying objects currently in service in the US … Besides, we all remember our specialists have trained them since Soviet times.”
Russia said in January it had completed delivery of TOR-M1 anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran, provoking an outcry from Washington and Israel, which said the sale undermined regional security.
Moscow said the missile systems were short-range and purely defensive. Russian media have quoted unidentified sources in Russian military intelligence as saying the United States could launch a strike on Iran as early as April 6.
“Today’s situation is such that the attacking side [the US] has more modern and powerful weapons and enjoys supremacy in quantity, compared to Iran’s defenses,” said General Sergei Razygrayev, chief of staff of Moscow’s air defense system.
“They [the Americans] will be able to create such a quantitive supremacy that they will accomplish the set task, though they will also suffer losses,” Razygrayev said.
On Tuesday, Russian Chief of General Staff Yuri Baluyevsky was quoted as saying the US could damage Iran’s military and industrial potential but “it is impossible to win.”
Razygrayev said that to project a possible scenario for Iran, Russian military experts had analyzed US air strikes on former Yugoslavia and Iraq. He said the US would seek to suppress Iran’s radar systems and launch a massive cruise missile strikes.
On another front, a report on the Web site of US televistion station ABC News on Wednesday said US officials have secretly encouraged and advised a Pakistani tribal militant group responsible for several deadly attacks inside Iran.
The Sunni group Jundullah comprises members of the Baluchi tribe and operates out of Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan Province, the report said.
“The Foreign Office takes serious note of the tendentious ABC News report alleging that a group called ‘Jundullah (Soldier of God)’ was operating from inside Pakistan to carry out raids across the border into Iran,” an official Pakistani statement said.
It said the notion that Pakistan was part of a “secret campaign” against Iran was an “absurd and sinister insinuation.”
The report quoted Pakistani tribal sources as saying that money for the group is funneled to its young leader, Abdel-Malik Regi, through Iranian exiles who have connections with European and Gulf states.
It quoted official Pakistani sources as saying that the Jundullah campaign was on the agenda when US Vice President Dick Cheney met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in February.
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