Iran Threatens Israel over Syrian Intervention

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani warned Wednesday that Western military intervention in Syria would "engulf the Zionist regime."

Speaking at an open session of parliament, Larijani said "U.S. military officials probably have a poor understanding of themselves and regional issues because Syria is in no way similar to Libya," the Tehran Times reported.

"And [the effects of] creating another Benghazi in Syria would spread to Palestine [SIC] and ash rising from the flames would definitely envelop the Zionist regime,"  he warned. "It seems that the United States and the West are seeking to pave the way for a new crisis."

"U.S. officials should be aware of [the nature of] their dangerous game," Larijani added.

In New York, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said Syria's failure to implement the peace plan presented by Arab League and U.N. envoy Kofi Annan would inevitably lead to a "worst case" scenario.

Rice said the 14-month conflict could go one of three ways. The first would be to implement Annan's plan by ending military assaults on Syrian towns, withdrawing tanks and artillery, returning troops to bases, and initiating talks on a "political transition" with the opposition.

The second option would involve Security Council resolutions to convince Assad to fully implement the peace plan.

The third and "worst case" scenario would see the conflict spread regionally.

"In the absence of either of those two scenarios, there seems to be only one other alternative and that is indeed the worst case…and the most probable," she said.

"That is that the violence escalates, the conflict spreads and intensifies. It involves countries in the region, it takes on increasingly sectarian forms, and we have a major crisis not only in Syria but in the region."

That would mean "a proxy conflict with arms flowing in from all sides," Rice said. "And members of this council and members of the international community are left with the option only of having to consider whether they're prepared to take actions outside of the Annan plan and the authority of this council," she concluded.

On Tuesday, 13 bodies with their hands tied behind their backs were found about 25 miles east of Deir al-Zor in eastern Syria. Some of the victims had been shot in the head at close range.

Syrian officials blamed the killings on "armed terrorists" and said it would investigate the deaths.

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