Tags: Iran's | Leader | Warns | Against | U.S. | Attack

Iran's Leader Warns Against U.S. Attack

Wednesday, 04 June 2003 12:00 AM

"All must know that attacking Iran would mean suicide for the aggressor," the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted him as saying on the 14th death anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic.

Following the war on Iraq, statements by U.S. officials directed at Iran led many to speculate Tehran may be the next target for a U.S.-led war.

"Iranians from all walks of life, especially the enthusiastic and prepared youth, will strongly and stiffly confront any attacker," Khamenei said.

Khamenei's words were greeted by chants of "Death to America; death to Israel" from tens of thousands of supporters crammed into Khomeini's vast mausoleum on the southern outskirts of Tehran.

In recent weeks, Washington has accused Tehran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, sheltering al-Qaida members, and interfering in Iraq's affairs. Tehran has rejected all these charges.

Khamenei said the allegations were nothing new and that a U.S. attack on Iran would "cost the American government very dearly."

Khamenei, who has the final word on all key issues in the governing of Iran, also warned Iranian officials against any compromise with the United States.

"But, among the state officials in the three branches of power, no one has the right to entertain the slightest willingness for a retreat and if anyone takes a step for the submission of the nation ... the nation in ultimate ruthlessness will shun him," he said.

Iran is split between the moderates led by President Mohammed Khatami and the clerics who are led by Khamanei. U.S. pressure on the nation has increased those division, forcing the two camps into an argument about how to deal with Washington.

Khatami's supporters argue the only way to deter foreign threats is to implement reforms that respect the will of the people and their constitutional, Islamic and human rights. The conservatives, who wield their power through the courts, state media, security forces and unelected institutions such as the watchdog Guardian Council, show no sign of giving in, however.

A number of hard-line papers have alleged the reformists are in league with the Americans.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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"All must know that attacking Iran would mean suicide for the aggressor," the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted him as saying on the 14th death anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic republic. Following the war on Iraq, statements...
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Wednesday, 04 June 2003 12:00 AM
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