Sunday, January 23, 2005

Iran warns US against "strategic mistake"

Iran warns US against "strategic mistake": "Iran warns US against "strategic mistake":
[World News]: Tehran, Jan 23 : Iran warned the United States Sunday against an attack, saying any aggressive manoeuvre against the Islamic Republic would be a "strategic mistake", reports Xinhua.

"The Islamic republic is fully capable of defending itself, so only those who want to make a great strategic mistake would have the idea of attacking Iran," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said at a news briefing.

Asefi, however, said the US threat was unlikely to materialise, terming it as only a "psychological war". "We don't think a real attack is going to be launched by the United States," Asefi said.

The spokesman also called on the international community to take action to stop the US from pursuing policies.

"Iran expects the international community to keep a close watch on the Bush administration, for it is eligible to stop any wrong policy of some countries," Asefi said.

The war of words between Iran and the US escalated last week after The New Yorker magazine published an article by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, which claimed that Washington was planning an attack on Tehran.

President George W. Bush had said Monday that he would not rule out military action against Iran.

Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice urged the international community to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and threatened to refer Tehran's nuclear case to the UN Security Council.

At the inauguration ceremony of Bush's second term Thursday, Vice President Dick Cheney ranked Iran at top of a list of global trouble spots.

Hersh's report claimed that the US was carrying out covert operations inside Iran to identify nuclear, chemical and missile sites.

Though the Pentagon said the story was "riddled with errors of fundamental fact", it did not expressly deny conducting secret reconnaissance missions.

The United States accuses Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons and has threatened to launch pre-emptive attacks on its nuclear facilities.

Iran rejects the charges, saying its nuclear research is peaceful and acts as a deterrent against its enemies in the region. "

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