Tags: Iranian | Minister | Threatens | Israel | Attacks

Iranian Minister Threatens Israel on Attacks

Thursday, 23 September 2004 12:00 AM

Kharrazzi, in NY to attend the U.N. General Assembly, met Wednesday evening with British foreign secretary Jack Straw to discuss latest developments on the Iranian nuclear situation.

Earlier this week, Teheran announced it had begun reprocessing several tons of spent uranium, known as yellowcake, which according to the CIA, could produce enough bomb grade fuel for as many as "five small atomic weapons."

The Iranian moves have prompted the International Atomic Energy Agency (the U.N.'s atomic watchdog) to threaten to refer the matter to the Security Council, which could opt to impose sanctions.

The Straw-Kharazzi meting was an attempt by the UK foreign office to find an avenue to avoid involving any Council action.

The 40-minute meeting, in a private British office inside the U.N. compound, produced little movement other than pledges to "continue the dialog to break the impasse," explained Kharazzi.

"We had a very good meeting with Jack Straw which went right to the issues and discussed all aspects of the nuclear issue. ...I believe there are concerns on all sides and we have to arrive at some conclusions that would be acceptable to all sides to overcome this impasse.

"Naturally, we reserve the right to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes ... therefore I believe there are ways and means to solve the problems."

What such a solution would entail, Kharazzi refused to spell out.

When the conversation turned to Israel, the normally placid diplomat became more vocal.

Recent reports claim that Jerusalem and Washington are finalizing an expanded weapons agreement that could provide the Israeli Air Force with as many as 500 high-explosive bunker buster bombs, similar to the ones used by U.S. and UK forces during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The purpose would be to provide Israel with enough firepower to knock out facilities Washington believes Teheran is using to develop atomic weapons.

Israel, which in 1981 bombed an Iraqi atomic weapons facility in Baghdad, has threatened the same action if Iran does not yield to international pressure to curtail its bomb program.

Privately, Iranian diplomats tell NewsMax they are not taking Israel's threats "seriously." The Iranians feel such a bilateral action could unite local feelings against the Jewish state and perhaps ignite a regional war.

As such, Teheran believes that Washington is using the Israeli threat as an intimidation tactic to pressure Iran into dealing with IAEA inspectors.

However, Kharzaai made clear that any "meddling" by Israel will be responded to by Iran:

"Israel has always been a threat, not only to Iran, but to all countries in the middle east.

"That is the main conflict ... the proclivities of Israel and its ability to obtain as many wepons as they need, including WMD and atomic bombs cannot go unchecked. Be assured that any action by Israel will be responded to by us most severely."

The foreign minister refused to specify just what action Iran might take.

Wire service reports claim that several weeks ago, Tehran successfully tested a medium-range ballistic missile capable ot carrying a nuclear warhead.

The missile's tange, believed to be in excess of 600 mi., would put most of Israel at risk, including its secret nuclear "research" facility in the Negev desert city of Dimona.

There were no immediate comments on the Kharazzi remarks from Washington, London or Jerusalem.

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Kharrazzi, in NY to attend the U.N. General Assembly, met Wednesday evening with British foreign secretary Jack Straw to discuss latest developments on the Iranian nuclear situation. Earlier this week, Teheran announced it had begun reprocessing several tons of spent...
Iranian,Minister,Threatens,Israel,Attacks
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2004-00-23
Thursday, 23 September 2004 12:00 AM
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