Iran's Rafsanjani suggests nuclear attack on Israel
SPECIAL TO WORLD TRIBUNE.COM
Tuesday, December 18, 2001
One of Iran’s most influential ruling clerics called on the Muslim states
to use nuclear weapon against Israel, assuring them that while such
an attack would annihilate Israel, it would cost them "damages only".
The speech by former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani failed
to catch the attention of the western press but made waves in
the Middle East.
"If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the
arms Israel has in its possession, the strategy of colonialism would
face a stalemate because application of an atomic bomb would not leave
anything in Israel but the same thing would just produce damages in
the Muslim world", Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
told the crowd at the traditional Friday prayers in Tehran.
In Washington Sunday, administration officials said the United States
does not plan to target Iran in the war against terrorism.
"Iran is a situation where there are clearly some pressures
from young people, there are pressures from women in that country," U.S. Defense
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said. "Iran had a different history than Iraq.
don't know, if nothing else happened and one looked at those two countries,
I would say the likelihood of Iraq reforming itself is zero. The
the remote possibility of Iran reforming itself is considerably above
Dr. Assad Homayou, president of the Azadegan Foundation in
Washington, D.C. agreed. "To me the issue is not nuclear
weapons but the responsibility of the regime," he said. "This regime
is not responsible and that is why I have always emphasized that the
removal of this regime is imperative. As the U.S. secretary of
defense said the situation with Iran is different from that of Iraq.
People only need the moral support of the United States."
Analysts told the Iranian Press Service that Rafsanjani's speech
marks the first time a prominent leader of the Islamic Republic had
openly suggested the use of nuclear weapon against the Jewish State.
Rafsanjani advised Western states not to pin their hopes on Israel's
violence because it will be "very dangerous".
"We are not willing to see security in the world is harmed", he said,
warning that a war "of the pious and martyrdom seeking forces against
peaks of colonialism will be highly dangerous and might fan flames of
World War III."
Rafsanjani, who, as the Chairman of the Assembly to Discern the Interests
of the State, is the Islamic Republic’s number two man after Ayatollah
Ali Khamenei. He was speaking on "International Qods (Jerusalem) Day"
which is celebrated in Iran only.
The Pentagon, which has pressed for a second
stage in the U.S. war against terrorism, does not support any military campaign against Iran.
Instead, officials have urged that Washington target the regime of Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein.
On Monday, Iranian President
Mohammed Khatami said the stifling of
dissent in the country could spark a new wave of student protests, Middle
East Newsline reported. Over the last 20 months, officials said, 56
publications have been closed. This includes 24 daily newspapers.
U.S. officials acknowledge that Iran is more advanced
than Iraq in both
missile development and weapons of mass destruction. They said that
with Russian help, has succeeded in advancing its nuclear project and
could arrive at weapons capability as early as 2005.
But the officials said the administration has
been impressed with Iran's
help in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. The help has included military
coordination, security along the Afghan border and intelligence exchange.
Some officials expect Iran to also quietly support
any U.S. military
campaign against Iraq. Iraq is Teheran's rival and neighbor and Saddam
chemical weapons against Iran during their 1980-88 war.
One scenario being envisioned by Pentagon sources
is increased Iranian
help to Shi'ite opposition forces in southern Iraq. The Iranian help
also include coordination for any U.S. ground attack in the oil fields
around the southern port of Basra.
"I would characterize Iraq as a dictator in a
repressive system that is
unlikely to be altered from within absent an assassination or something
that," Rumsfeld said.