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Strike on Iran could turn Mideast into fireball, official says

Strike on Iran could turn Mideast into fireball, official says

AP
June 21, 2008

The U.N. nuclear watchdog chief warned in comments aired Saturday that any military strike on Iran could turn the Mideast to a “ball of fire” and lead Iran to a more aggressive stance on its controversial nuclear program.

Mohamed ElBaradei made the remarks in an interview aired on Saturday by Al Arabiya TV. The interview comes a day after reports emerged that Israel conducted an large-scale military exercise that the United States believes is in part a message to Iran that Israel has the capability to attack its nuclear program.

“In my opinion, a military strike will be the worst. … It will turn the Middle East to a ball of fire,” ElBaradei said on Al-Arabiya television. It also could prompt Iran to press even harder to seek a nuclear program and force him to resign, he said.

Iran also criticized the Israeli exercises Saturday. The official IRNA news agency quoted a government spokesman as saying the exercises demonstrate that Israel “jeopardizes global peace and security.”

Israel sent warplanes and other aircraft on a major exercise in the eastern Mediterranean this month, U.S. military officials said Friday.

Israel’s military refused to confirm or deny that the maneuvers were practice for a strike in Iran, saying only that it regularly trains for various missions to counter threats to the country.

But the exercise the first week of June may have been meant as a show of force as well as a practice on skills needed to execute a long-range strike mission, one U.S. official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record on the matter.

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Iran says Israel not capable of threatening it

Reuters
June 23, 2008

Iran said on Monday Israel could not threaten it, a few days after a U.S. newspaper reported that Israel’s air force had apparently rehearsed a potential bombing raid of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Iran and Israel have engaged in a sharp exchange of words this month over suspicions Tehran is looking to develop nuclear weapons, helping to push global oil prices higher.

“They do not have the capacity to threaten the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told a news conference.

He was asked about a New York Times report on Friday that quoted U.S. officials as saying Israeli jets conducted a long-range Mediterranean exercise this month that appeared to be a practice for a mission against Iran.

“They (Israel) have a number of domestic crises and they want to extrapolate it to cover others. Sometimes they come up with these empty slogans,” Hosseini said in comments translated by Iran’s English-language Press TV satellite station.

Iran’s defense minister on Sunday accused Israel of “psychological warfare”, but said Tehran would give a “devastating” response to any attack.

On Friday, the U.N. nuclear watchdog chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, said a military strike on Iran would turn the Middle East into a fireball and prompt Tehran to launch a crash course to build nuclear weapons.

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Iranians don’t believe that military strikes are coming
http://www.uruknet.de/?p=m45047&hd=&size=1&l=e

ElBaradei: If you attack Iran, I quit
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=60539&sectionid=351020104

Iran says Israel a ’dangerous regime’
http://www.gulfnews.com/region/Middle_East/10222718.html