dismisses threat of US attack
08 29 07
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday dismissed
the chance of any US attack on Iran over its nuclear drive, saying a warning
by his new French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy only showed his inexperience.
Ahmadinejad said Iran was now cooperating so well with the UN atomic agency that
the long-running investigation into its nuclear programme was now "closed" and
further UN sanctions action against Tehran were improbable.
"There is no way a possibility of such an attack by the United States. Even
if they take such a decision, they cannot implement it," Ahmadinejad told
a news conference marked by his characteristic defiance.
The White House, however, has never ruled out attacking Iran and Sarkozy had
said in a keynote foreign policy address on Monday that Iran risked being bombed
if the crisis over its atomic drive was not solved through diplomacy.
"He only recently came to power and wants to find a place for himself in
the world," Ahmadinejad told reporters of the French president.
"He is still inexperienced, meaning that maybe he does not really understand
the meaning of his own words," he added.
had said that the threat of sanctions coupled with an
offer of dialogue was the only way of avoiding a "catastrophic
alternative: an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran."
However Ahmadinejad argued that an agreement last week between Iran and the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meant the nuclear issue was on the right track and
there was no need to fear further UN sanctions.
" Not one member of the IAEA has cooperated as well as Iran. So from our
point of view, Iran's nuclear case is closed. Iran is a nuclear nation and has
the nuclear fuel cycle," he said.
" We are going in the right direction (with the IAEA). I do not think that
anyone will be able to interfere in this."
The deal reached between Iran and the IAEA last week sets out a detailed timetable
for Tehran to answer outstanding questions about its atomic drive, which the
United States charges is aimed at making nuclear weapons.
However the agreement does not tackle the key sticking point over whether Iran
should suspend uranium enrichment activities and United States has dismissed
the plan as having "real limitations".
Iran said on Tuesday that as part of its cooperation with the IAEA it has already
cleared up questions about its experiments with plutonium, a potential atom bomb
The United States accuses Iran -- OPEC's number two oil producer and owner of
the second largest proven gas reserves in the world -- of seeking to make nuclear
weapons under the guise of a civilian energy drive.
Iran insists that the drive is entirely peaceful and that its growing population
will need nuclear power as fossil fuels start to run dry.
Tehran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment -- a sensitive process that can
be used both to make nuclear fuel and nuclear weapons -- has already seen it
slapped with two sets of UN sanctions.
Diplomats in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, said the Iranian cooperation should
stave off new UN sanctions this year but that Tehran must open up further if
it wants to avoid punitive action in the longer term.
Ahmadinejad said that the cooperation between Iran and the IAEA had showed Western
powers that using force to bring Tehran to heel would not work.
" The Iranian people are united, they believe in God, they believe in the
reappearance of the Mahdi (the Shiite hidden imam)," he added, a day ahead
of a public holiday in Iran to mark the imam's birth anniversary.
During his news conference, Ahmadinejad repeatedly invoked the strength of Iranian
civilisation, religion and culture, saying this had ensured that Western threats
had come to nothing.
" Our (nuclear) problem is solved. You will not be able to do anything against
us... Being our enemy will not bring you anything except defeat," he said.
AFP 28 1546 GMT 08 07
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