By JOEL LEYDEN
Israel News Agency
JERUSALEM - As Iran test fires missiles on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur - missiles capable of hitting Israel, Saudi Arabia, Europe and U.S. bases - Saudi Arabia has granted the use of their air space to Israel to take out Iran nuclear facilities.
According to the Daily Express, the director of England MI6 discussed a mutual defense against Iran in London with Israel Mossad Director Meir Dagan and security officials from Saudi Arabia. The meeting between the UK, Israel and the Saudis took place after British INTEL discovered the plant, in the side of a mountain near the ancient Iran city of Qom.
Diplomatic sources say that the Iran nuclear site could hold 3,000 centrifuges, capable of making enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb each year.
The Iran second nuclear weapons producing site is seen as a real-time threat by Israel and Saudi Arabia. John Bolton, America’s former UN ambassador, recently told a meeting of intelligence analysts that “Riyadh certainly approves” of Israel using of Saudi Arabia airspace for either air or missile ground to ground attacks against Iran.
As much of Israel was joining in prayer for their most sacred Jewish holiday, the Iran Revolutionary Guard successfully launched the Shahab-3 missile, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and has a range of up to 1,200 miles. The Iran Shahab-3 missile would put Israel, most Arab states and parts of Europe, including much of Turkey, within its strike range.
Iran Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi, afraid of an Israel military response today said: "If this happens, an attack by Israel, which of course we do not foresee, its ultimate result would be that it expedites the Zionist regime's last breath," said on state television.
Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said the missile tests were not a response to international pressure on the country's nuclear program. They were, he said, part of Sacred Defense Week's annual military exercises to commemorate Iran's war with Iraq in the 1980s.
Israel is prepared to use a preemptive military strike to stop Iran from developing an atomic weapon.
In 1981, Israel bombed a French-built nuclear plant near Iraq's capital, Baghdad, knowing that it was designed to make nuclear weapons to destroy Israel.
It was the world's first air strike against a nuclear plant.
An undisclosed number of Israel Defense Forces F-15 interceptors and F-16 fighter bombers destroyed the Osirak reactor 18 miles south of Baghdad, on the orders of Israel Prime Minister Menachem Begin.
Iran, which says its nuclear work is for peaceful power generation, has often shrugged off the possibility of any such strikes.
Vahidi, a former Revolutionary Guards commander, said that in the event of an Israeli attack its "lifespan, which is today coming to an end, would be sped up."
He added that the "Zionist regime," the term Iran uses for Israel, was on a "slope of destruction".
Iran's hardline president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has also repeatedly predicted Israel's downfall while denying that the Holocaust ever took place.
"Israel knew days before about today's launch of the Iran Shahab-3 missile," said an Israel security analyst.
"They perceive Israel as weak and are probing the Israel Defense Forces and her allies reactions. This is nothing more and nothing less than psychological war fare operations by Iran. With the US, Canada, Western Europe, Russia and many Arab states now joining forces against Iran, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is doing all he can to show the citizens of Iran that he is still in power."
"The Iran missile testing today was not for Israel, the US or Saudi Arabia consumption but produced for Iran TV where it was advertised, and shown over and over again to Iran citizens. Discontented and outraged citizens of Iran who had a recent election stolen from them. An election where they would have voted in democracy. All the same, Israel has remained on high alert before, during and after Yom Kippur through our powerful and experienced navy, air force and ground forces."
Israel IDF chief of the general staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi responded by saying that “the possibility of Iran becoming a nuclear power is a threat not only to the State of Israel, but for the Middle East and the entire free world.”
“We all understand that the best way of coping with Iran is through international sanctions. I hope that Iran will understand this. I think that if not, Israel has the right to defend itself, and all options are open. The IDF's working premise is that we have to be prepared for that possibility, and that is exactly what we are doing.”