Iran Says It May Pre-empt Attack Against Its
By NAZILA FATHI
Published: August 20, 2004
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TEHRAN, Aug. 19 - Iran's defense minister, Vice Adm. Ali Shamkhani, has
warned that Iran may resort to pre-emptive strikes to prevent an attack
on its nuclear facilities.
Admiral Shamkhani made his comments in an interview on Al Jazeera
television on Wednesday in response to a question about the possibility
of an American or Israeli attack against Iran's nuclear projects.
"We will not sit to wait for what others will do to us," he said. "Some
military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations
which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly. Any nation, if it
feels threatened, can resort to that."
There has been speculation here that Israel may attack Iran's nuclear
sites, as it struck against Iraq's nuclear facilities at Osirak in 1981.
A commander of Iran's hard-line Revolutionary Guards warned this week
that Iran would strike Israel's reactor at Dimona if Israel attacked
Iran's nuclear sites.
"If Israel fires one missile at Bushehr atomic power plant, it should
permanently forget about the Dimona nuclear center, where it produces
and keeps its nuclear weapons," said the commander, Gen. Mohammad Baqer
Admiral Shamkhani said Iran was certain that Israel would not carry out
such an attack without a green light from the United States. "So you
cannot separate the two," he said.
On Thursday, Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi urged the International
Atomic Energy Agency to close its file on charges that Iran was
developing nuclear weapons, state-run television reported. This month,
the United Nations agency affirmed Iran's claim that the highly enriched
uranium found at an Iranian site had been carried in on equipment Iran
purchased in the black market.
"If the case is not closed, it intensifies the suspicion about
interference of political motives and pressures within the agency," Mr.
The nuclear watchdog agency is scheduled to report its findings on
Iran's nuclear activities at a meeting in Vienna starting Sept. 13. The
United States has urged the agency to send Iran's case to the United
Nations Security Council, which can impose sanctions.