Published on Thursday, February 8, 2007 by Reuters

Iran Says It Will Target US Interests if Attacked

by Parisa Hafezi
  http://www.commondreams.org/headlines07/0208-04.htm

Iran's top authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on
Thursday the Islamic Republic would target U.S. interests around the world
if it came under attack over its disputed nuclear program.

His comments were accompanied by an Iranian naval commander's statement that
the Revolutionary Guards had test fired missiles that could sink "big
warships" in the Gulf, the waterway where a second U.S. aircraft carrier is
now heading.

Iran and the United States are locked in a dispute over Tehran's nuclear
program, which Washington says is being used to build atomic bombs, a charge
Tehran denies.

The United States has stepped up pressure on Iran to heed a U.N. demand to
halt the most sensitive part of Iran's atomic work -- uranium enrichment.
Iran has refused to take that step.

"The enemies know well that any aggression will lead to a reaction from all
sides in the Iranian nation on the aggressors and their interests around the
world," Khamenei was quoted as saying by state television.

Washington says it wants diplomacy to end the nuclear standoff but has not
ruled out military action if that fails.

"We believe that no one will make such an unwise and wrong move (to attack
Iran) that would endanger their country and interests," Khamenei said.

"Some say that the U.S. president is not the type who acts based on
calculations or thinks about the consequences of his action. But even these
people can be brought to their senses."

President Bush has said he has no intention of invading Iran, despite
pledging to ratchet up pressure.

But Iran says it plans to press ahead with its atomic plans. Diplomats say
it has set up a new batch of more than 300 centrifuges that can enrich
uranium for fuel or material for warheads. It already runs 350 experimental
centrifuges.

TALKS WITH WESTERN OFFICIALS

Iran says it will celebrate its atomic achievements as it marks the
anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution on Sunday, prompting speculation
that it could announce progress in expanding enrichment work at its
underground Natanz facility.

"What we mean by 'nuclear celebrations' is that we will show that the
Iranian nation is supporting the nuclear issue," Iran's chief nuclear
negotiator, Ali Larijani, was quoted by the official daily Iran as saying.

Larijani said on Wednesday he planned talks with Western officials on the
sidelines of a conference in Germany, the first such contacts since U.N.
sanctions were imposed in December.

The February 9-11 security conference in Munich is expected to be attended
by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin,
European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana and Defense Secretary
Robert Gates.

Asked about a possible meeting with Larijani, Solana said: "For the moment I
have not agreed on anything as I don't know what time I'll be there and what
time he will be there."

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said U.S. officials had no plans
to meet Larijani. The United States says Iran must halt enrichment before
talks can start or sanctions can be lifted.

The U.N. sanctions block the transfer of sensitive nuclear material and
know-how to Iran's nuclear program. The resolution also gives Iran until
February 21 to suspend enrichment.

Amid mounting tension with the United States, Iran staged two days of
war-games on Wednesday and Thursday involving air and naval units of the
ideologically driven Revolutionary Guards.

Senior Guards naval commander Ali Fadavi was quoted by the state
broadcaster's Web site as saying that a missile tested on Thursday could
sink "all kinds of big warships", and had a range extending to all parts of
the Gulf and the Sea of Oman, and to the northern Indian Ocean.