Iran to use "all means" to defend itself if attacked
2 hours, 36 minutes ago
TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran said on Wednesday it would use "all our means" to defend itself if attacked by the West, three days after France's foreign minister publicly raised the possibility of war over Tehran's disputed nuclear activities.
When asked whether Iran would block the Hormuz Strait, the world's most important water way for oil shipments, if attacked, government spokesman Gholamhossein Elham dismissed it as "far- fetched" that anybody would take "this foolish option."
But, "we would use all our means to defend ourselves because territorial integrity is a key issue for every country," he told a news conference.
He did not elaborate. Iran has previously threatened to hit U.S. regional interests if the United States launches a military strike against the Islamic Republic.
The world's fourth-largest crude producer, which rejects Western accusations it is seeking to develop nuclear bombs, has also said it will not rule out using oil as a weapon if attacked.
Analysts fear Iran could seek to impede traffic through the Strait of Hormuz in any retaliation by threatening merchant shipping. U.S. naval chiefs are concerned that Iran could resort to mining the strait and the wider Gulf in a major conflict.
The strategic sea channel which shares Iran's coastline at the entrance to the Gulf is a choke point because of the huge volume of oil exported through it daily.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday comments by French government officials talking about the possibility of war over Iran's nuclear programme were intended for the media and should not be taken seriously.
Western nations fear Iran is seeking to build atomic bombs despite Tehran's denials. The United States insists it wants diplomacy to end the row but has not ruled out military action should such a route fail.
French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said on Monday everything must be done to avoid war with Iran, a day after Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Paris should prepare for that possibility though he did not think any war was imminent.
Kouchner's comments prompted major powers including the United States to say they believed the nuclear standoff could be resolved diplomatically.
French Defence Minister Herve Morin said on Wednesday France had no plan to attack Iran
"No one can think for one instant that we are imagining and preparing plans against Iran," he told Canal Plus television.
Did anyone really think that war was 'immanent' against Iraq when George Bush took office? No. It was not even a thought in minds of most Americans.
The Iraq war was manufactured through a magic show on the grand scale. Therefore, We the American People should TRUST that our own government WILL manufacture wars for economic ends.
All that the American people should TRUST is that the politicians bought and paid for by the wealthy business men in the private sector WILL STRIKE any nation deemed economically profitable. This is the only LOGICAL CONCLUSION the American people can come to.
I TRUST a snake to act like a snake. I TRUST a LION to act like a lion. I TRUST a wolf to act like a worlf. I TRUST a politician to act like a politician. I trust the Federal Reserve Bank to prink counterfit notes under the guise of dollar bills.
Iran is within its rights to not only maintain a military force, but to hold and use nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
There are no rules. There are no peace treaties. There are no conventions. ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR! Iran has as much 'RIGHT' to hold nuclear weapons as any other nation. For the truth of the matter is that it is yet unclear that ANY NATION has the 'RIGHT' to hold nuclear weapons -- or any other weapons for that matter.
If there ever were a manufactured attack against IRAN, IRAN would be within its 'RIGHT' to annihilate the west. If IRAN is attacked by the United States, there will be a World War. You can TRUST in that.
Bomb in Christian Suburb East of Beirut Kills Lawmaker, 6 Others
BEIRUT, Lebanon -- In Lebanon, a powerful bomb has killed a pro-government Parliament member and six others.
Security officials say the blast occurred in a Christian suburb east of the Lebanese capital, Beirut.
The officials say the blast targeted a member of a right-wing Christian party (Antoine Ghanem).
The Voice of Lebanon radio station, which is owned by the party, also confirmed the politician's death. The identities of the others killed were not immediately known.
The attack occurred six days before the Lebanese Parliament is scheduled to meet to elect a new president in a deeply divisive vote. The lawmaker is the eighth prominent anti-Syrian figure assassinated in Lebanon since 2005.
Mullen: US action in Iran last resort
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer
9 minutes ago
Thursday, October 18, 2007
WASHINGTON - While military action against Iran is a last resort, the U.S. has the resources to attack if needed despite the strains of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the top U.S. military officer said Thursday.
Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the focus now is on diplomacy to stem Iran's nuclear ambitions and its support for insurgents in Iraq.
But, he told reporters, "there is more than enough reserve to respond (militarily) if that, in fact, is what the national leadership wanted to do."
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons could set of an arms race in the Middle East. "The risk of an accident or a miscalculation or of those weapons or materials falling into the hands of terrorists seem to me to be substantially increased," he said.
Appearing together before reporters for the first time since Mullen became chairman on Oct. 1, they expressed concern about Iran and Turkey — hot spots commanding attention even as the military focuses on the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Both leaders warned of serious repercussions if Congress were to pass a nonbinding resolution labeling as genocide the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, around World War I.
"I don't think the Turks are bluffing. I think it is that meaningful to them," Gates said. "I think there is a very real risk of perhaps not shutting us down" in terms of access to Turkish airspace for resupplying U.S. troops in Iraq, but of at least restricting it.
"I will say again it has potential to do real harm to our troops in Iraq and would strain — perhaps beyond repair — our relationship with a key ally in a vital region and in the wider war on terror," the Pentagon chief said.
At the same time, Gates said the U.S. and the Iraqis are "prepared to do the appropriate thing" in acting against the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, that has conducted raids into Turkey from northern Iraq.
The Turks have expressed frustration about the lack of action by the U.S. against the group. Gates attributed that largely to a lack of specific intelligence.
The Turkish parliament this week authorized the government to send troops across the border to go after the Kurdish rebels, despite repeated pleas from Washington to focus on diplomatic efforts.
Gates also said he believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin is serious about trying to play a constructive role in resolving the crisis over Iran's nuclear program.
"President Putin takes Iran seriously as a security concern for Russia, and I think they are prepared to take some actions as befits that," Gates said.
Mullen said the U.S. military is working hard to stem the flow from Iran into Afghanistan of high-tech materials for roadside bombs. The military has said that parts from the armor-piercing bombs, which have killed hundreds of troops in Iraq, are now getting into Afghanistan.
Mullen said he is not aware of any high-level Iranian government connection to the weapons in Afghanistan, although officials have said that is a concern in Iraq.
At a separate Pentagon news conference, Afghanistan's defense chief, Abdul Rahim Wardak, told reporters that his government recently obtained evidence that Iranian weapons are entering his country.
He said he raised the matter with Iranian officials last month and they denied any involvement.
Also Thursday, Gates said the private security guards in Iraq — such as those who killed a number of Iraqi citizens — may be hurting the U.S. military's effort to stabilize the country.
The military and the contractors, he said, have conflicting missions. While the contractors are trying to keep alive those people being guarded, the military is striving to improve relations with the Iraqis and solidify the government.
"There have been instances where, to put it mildly, the Iraqis have been offended and not treated properly" by the private guards, Gates said. "So those kinds of activities work at cross-purposes to our larger mission in Iraq."
Gates said he plans to confer with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice about tighter controls over the contractors.