Paris, 19 Aug. (IPS) Iranian analysts on Thursday 19 August 2004 expressed "serious concern" about Iranian Defence Minister’s latest declaration warning that Iran might launch a pre-emptive strike against the United States or Israel to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities.
"We will not sit (with arms folded) to wait for what others will do to us. Some military commanders in Iran are convinced that preventive operations which the Americans talk about are not their monopoly", Admiral Ali Mr Shamkhani told the Qatari satellite television Al Jazira when asked about the possibility of a US or Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.
"America is not the only one present in the region. We are also present, from Khost to Qandahar in Afghanistan; we are present in the (Persian) Gulf and we can be present in Iraq", he said, speaking in Farsi to the Arabic-language news channel through an interpreter.
A day before, a high-ranking Revolutionary Guards commander had stated that in case Israel attack Iranian nuclear facilities, “it should permanently forget about Dimona nuclear centre”, referring to Israel’s best-known nuclear site.
“If Israel fires one missile at Booshehr atomic power plant, it should permanently forget about Dimona nuclear centre, where it produces and keeps its nuclear weapons, and Israel would be responsible for the terrifying consequence of this move”, the acting Revolutionary Guards Commander General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr warned.
America is not the only one present in the region. We are also present, from Khost to Qandahar in Afghanistan; we are present in the (Persian) Gulf and we can be present in Iraq
But in his interview with Al-Jazira, Shamkhani said "It's certain to us that Israel won't carry out any military action without a green light from America". So, you can't separate the two".
“Such statements are mirror image of American officials threats against the Islamic Republic, parroting President Bush’s warnings, but the difference is that the United States not only can strike against Iran, but it has pre-emptive plans for such operations”, commented Mr. Hooshang Amir Ahmadi, a professor of Middle Eastern affairs at New Jersey’s Rutgers University.
In the interview, Mr. Shamkhani also said that by their presence in the Persian Gulf, the Americans are in fact “hostage to their own presence”.
"The US military presence in Iraq and the Persian Gulf will not become an element of strength at our expense. The opposite is true, because their forces would turn into a hostage" in Iranian hands in the event of an attack, he pointed out.
According to some Iranian analysts, radical circles in the clerical-ruled establishment are in fact trying their best to provoke both the United States and Israel for limited action against Iran.
“Well aware of their isolation both at home and abroad, hard-line elements in the political establishment think a foreign attack would mobilise the public opinion behind them, as it happened after the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein attacked Iran in 1980”, one scholar in Tehran told Iran Press Service on condition of anonymity.
“However, he added, the big difference is that a good percentage of Iranians, mainly the young generation, is also hoping for such a military action, in the hope to see the Americans topple the present Mollahrchy, as they did with the Taleban in Afghanistan and Saddam in Iraq”.
Other pundits said the danger with the Iranian officials, including the militaries, is that often they do not weigh the consequences of their pronouncements.
“It’s like children when they menace to go over board. It is out of ignorance. This is the case with most of Iranian decision-makers”, an Iranian journalist observed.
Although most Iranian military commanders among the ayatollah’s Praetorian Guards are known for grandiose, if not childish, -- some would say rubbish – statements, but the danger is that their declarations are taken seriously in the western capitals.
Such statements are mirror image of American officials threats against the Islamic Republic, parroting President Bush’s warnings
“These kind of statements are dangerous because they provide the pretext for the enemies of Iran to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran”, Dr. Amir Ahmadi noted further in an interview with the Persian service of Radio France International, referring indirectly to a recent declaration by the Defence Minister describing Israel as “najes”, an Arabic word meaning dirty, foul, or untouchable.
“When he says that Iran is present from Khost to Qandahar (in Afghanistan) and can be present in Iraq, this run hundred per cent against Iranian government stated policy of non-interference in other nation’s internal affairs”, he added.
"The moment the Great Satan (America) decides to take military action against us, that moment will be the end of all our nuclear obligations", Shamkhani said, referring to Iran's cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog.
For his part, Mr. Zolqadr had said that Israeli and American menaces are aimed at introducing a “fear factor” among some Iranian officials, coercing them to abandon Iran’s right to nuclear technology.
“Given the internal crises in the Zionist regime and its military, security and geographical vulnerability, Israel is not capable of attacking Iran and its threats are only propaganda and are aimed at depriving Iran of its “indisputable right” to nuclear technology for peaceful ends.
The points raised by the two senior Revolutionary Guards officer came at a time that the United States and some European nations are pushing hard for taking Iranian controversial nuclear issue from the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
But international news agencies reported Wednesday that in their report to the next meeting of the international nuclear watchdog’s Board of Directors, IAEA’s inspectors would not single out the Islamic Republic for its nuclear activities nor would they recommend that the case be referred to the UN’s Security Council. ENDS SHAMKHANI THREATS 19804