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Iran Foreign Minister Warns of Strong Defense

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi has warned Iran would respond to any US threat, in an escalating war of words between Teheran and Washington, the state news agency IRNA reported Thursday. 

Kharazi was quoted as saying during a trip to Uganda that Iran would respond to any US threat, adding: "We are not afraid of that country's threats."


Iran vehemently denies it is developing nuclear weapons.


Kharazi, touring Africa with President Mohammad Khatami, said Washington was using "psychological warfare" against Iran.


"We know the enemy and his plans, but we will go on with our policies and although we do not wish to get into conflict with anyone, we will strongly defend our national interests."


Also yesterday, the Iranian Ambassador to Britain Mohammed Hossein Adeli told the BBC the United States should learn from mistakes from the past and adopt a more responsible and multilateral approach toward world affairs.


"Waging war against Muslims, disrespecting and ignoring its allies, including the Europeans, only created tension, instability, a less secure world, and created an ocean of mistrust between the United States and the rest of the world," Adeli said in an interview with the BBC radio. "I do not think this would do any good to the American image and the American cause."


"The United States should take lessons from its past mistakes, adopt a more responsible attitude and have a more multilateral approach toward world issues," the ambassador said, responding to questions on reports that US President George W. Bush has refused to rule out military strikes to solve the nuclear issue of Iran.


Adeli's comments came as British Prime Minister Tony Blair told the British Guardian newspaper that Bush will display a more consensual approach to world politics as he begins his second term as the US president.


Bush understood that the best prospect of peaceful coexistence lies in the spread of democracy and human rights ... while military and security measures were important, there also needed to be a multilateral approach to solving the world's problems, the paper quoted Blair as saying.


Bush said this week he would not rule out military action against Iran over its nuclear program. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh reported in Monday's edition of The New Yorker magazine Bush and his national security advisers had been "conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least since last summer" to gather intelligence and targeting information.


Britain and other EU nations have said they would oppose a military option against Iran.


Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, whose country holds the EU presidency, said they hoped to persuade Bush during a summit later this month that diplomacy was the only course.


(China Daily January 21, 2005)

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