Bloomberg News

U.S. Attack on Iran ‘Suicide,’ Would Spark Reprisal, Envoy Says

February 13, 2012

Feb. 8 (Bloomberg) -- A U.S. attack on Iran would be “suicide” that would prompt retaliation, said Mahmoud-Reza Sajjadi, the Persian Gulf country’s ambassador to Russia,

“Iran has very good access to the whole world to carry out strikes against America,” he told reporters in Moscow today, adding that no pre-emptive strike is planned.

Iranian armed forces are closely monitoring hostile powers’ activities in the region, including along Iran’s borders, and are ready to counter possible aggression, said Abdollah Reshadi, commander of the northeastern air defense unit. “Iran’s air defense is on the alert for foreign powers’ military moves and fully prepared to counter any threats against the country,” he said today, according to state-run Press TV.

Israeli leaders, who have accused Iran of working toward building a nuclear weapon, say time is running out for a military strike that could stop the Islamic Republic from pursuing that aim. President Barack Obama told NBC News on Feb. 5 that “our preferred solution is diplomatic, but we’re not going to take any actions off the table.”

Iran, which says its atomic activities are designed to ensure electricity for its growing population, is under four rounds of United Nations sanctions and additional restrictions imposed by the U.S. and the European Union. Iran has threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of globally traded oil passes, as the EU prepares to ban imports of Iranian crude on July 1.

Willing to Act

Iranian leaders are willing to carry out an attack in the U.S. in response to real or perceived actions that threaten their government, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, told Congress on Jan. 31.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta this month declined to comment directly on a report by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius that Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June. He and other U.S. officials have warned Israel not to act alone.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Feb. 2 that his country must consider conducting “an operation” before Iran reaches an “immunity zone,” referring to Iran’s goal of protecting its uranium enrichment and other nuclear operations by moving them to deep underground facilities.

Iran doesn’t recognize Israel as a legitimate state and backs the Lebanese Hezbollah movement and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which it describes as “resistance” groups and the U.S. and Israel classify as terrorists.

“Wherever there is cruelty, there will be resistance, and wherever there is resistance, we will be there,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said at a conference in Tehran today. He said Iran “isn’t seeking to rule the world or dominate anyone.”

--With assistance from Henry Meyer in Moscow. Editors: Jennifer M. Freedman, Andrew Langley

To contact the reporters on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Tehran at lnasseri@bloomberg.net; Stepan Kravchenko in Moscow at skravchenko@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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