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Iran Says It May Pre-empt Attack Against Its Nuclear Facilities


Published: August 20, 2004

EHRAN, 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 Zolqadr.

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. Kharazi said.

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.


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