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Iran Says US Attack Would Be 'Blunder'

Iran said Sunday a US military strike against it would be a "strategic blunder," but brushed aside tough talk from Washington as psychological warfare rather than a real threat.  

Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi called US threats a bluff but warned that Washington would make a big mistake if it attacked Iran.


"The Americans are stupid, but not so much to make the same mistake which they made in Tabas," said Yunesi, referring to a failed US military operation in 1980 to rescue hostages held in Iran, according to the official Islamic Republic News Agency.


US President George W. Bush said Monday his administration won't exclude the possibility of using military force against Iran over its nuclear program, which the United States believes is aimed at producing weapons. Vice President Dick Cheney also said Thursday that Iran "is right at the top of the list" of world trouble spots.


Iran has denied allegations of secret nuclear weapons programs, saying its nuclear activities are for peaceful energy purposes.


Secretary of State nominee Condoleezza Rice made clear during her confirmation hearings last week that American differences with Iran go well beyond its nuclear program, saying it was "really hard to find common ground with a government that thinks Israel should be extinguished."


Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi responded Sunday, saying Iran "has always said that Tel Aviv decides US policies and that the Zionist lobby is very powerful in the United States."


Asefi said top US administration officials found no international support when they suggested that the United States may be considering military action against Iran.


"We consider such remarks a psychological war," Asefi told reporters. "We think the possibility (of a US attack) is very low unless someone wants to commit a very big strategic blunder."


President Mohammad Khatami said earlier this week that Iran had plans to defend itself should the United States make any aggressive moves, but added that the possibility of an attack "is very low" because Washington is preoccupied with Iraq.


Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Seymour Hersh reported in The New Yorker magazine Monday that the Bush administration had been "conducting secret reconnaissance missions inside Iran at least since last summer" to gather intelligence and targeting information. Defense Department officials said the article was filled with mistakes but did not deny its basic point.


Asefi refused to comment on reports that Iran has discovered spying devices from unidentified flying objects shot down by the Iranian military.


IRNA also quoted Yunesi as saying that US planes had been detected over Iran as "part of the espionage which they carry out" and warned that "every action has a reaction." He added the planes were "nothing new."


Yunesi also said US commandos had not entered Iran for reconnaissance missions.


"We are eagerly looking for the Americans commandos to come to Iran since they are chicks which would rapidly be picked up by our eagles," he said.


Under international pressure, Iran suspended uranium enrichment and all related activities in November, hoping to avoid UN Security Council sanctions. The nation has said it will decide within three months whether to continue its suspension, which is monitored by UN nuclear inspectors.


(Chinadaily.com.cn via agencies, January 24, 2005)

Iran Foreign Minister Warns of Strong Defense
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