Ahmadinejad: Israel and the U.S. would not dare attack Iran

By Reuters

Haaretz

Tevet 28, 5767

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said neither Israel, nor the United States, would dare attack the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, a Spanish newspaper quoted him as saying in an interview.

The Iranian president was responding to a question on a recent article by Britain's Sunday Times that Israel had secret plans to destroy Iran's uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.

"They well know the power of the Iranian people. I don't think they would ever dare to attack us, neither them nor their masters. They won't do such a stupid thing," Ahmadinejad told El Mundo during a visit to Nicaragua, referring to Israel.

Conservative Iranian leaders, such as Ahmadinejad, see Israel as a stooge of the United States in the Middle East.

Iran does not recognize Israel and Ahmadinejad has previously called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."

"That regime wants to hurt the Iranian people. They have many dreams but they are not all powerful," said the Iranian leader.

Israel has refused to rule out pre-emptive military action against Iran along the lines of its 1981 air strike against an atomic reactor in Iraq, although many analysts think Iran's nuclear facilities are too much for Israel to destroy alone.

Asked about whether he wants to see Israel destroyed, Ahmadinejad avoided a direct answer, but seemed to refer to an earlier statement in which had said that Israel would be wiped out "just as the Soviet Union was wiped out."

"Where is the Soviet Union?" he told El Mundo, "It has disappeared."

The Iranian president called the Holocaust a "pretext" for the establishment of the "dictatorial, totalitarian" Israeli regime which "was created essentially to threaten other nations."

He said researchers were not allowed to "ask questions" about the Holocaust. "If it really existed, where did it take place," he queried, asking what the Palestinians had to do with it.

Western countries had "imposed" the "Zionist regime" on the region to promote their economic and political interests, Ahmadinejad charged.

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, echoed the president's comments in Tehran when asked about the possibility of an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

"We have considered all the options and don't take these things that they say too seriously. They have enough brains not to carry out such mindless acts," Larijani was quoted as saying by Iran's official IRNA news agency on Wednesday.

The United Nations Security Council voted unamimously last month to impose sanctions on Iran to try to stop its uranium enrichment programme, which Tehran insists is peaceful.

The United States, which suspects Iran wants nuclear weapons, says it wants a diplomatic solution to the deadlock but military force remains an option.

Israel has said it will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.