|Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad 370 (R).(Photo by: REUTERS/Stringer)|
Ahmadinejad: Iran 'not afraid' of Israeli strike
If "Zionist regime" backs off, "there is no problem," Iranian president says, rejects ceasing 20% enriched uranium.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he was “not afraid” of an Israeli
strike on his country’s nuclear program, in an interview with the France 24
television channel on Wednesday.
He said that only Israel wanted to
attack Iran, but that the West did not, and if the “Zionist regime” did not
attack his country, “there is no problem.”
Israeli officials have hinted
at the possibility of an air strike against Iran’s nuclear program if ongoing
negotiations between Tehran and Western powers do not lead to a deal that
includes the Islamic Republic ceasing all uranium enrichment.
hit back at demands that Iran stop enriching uranium to 20 percent, claiming
that 20% enriched uranium was no more threatening than 3.5% enriched
He questioned the West on why it was pressuring Tehran about 20%
enriched uranium when Western nations already had the atom bomb.
more dangerous,” he asked, Iran or the West? He noted that the West had started
most of history’s wars and that Iran should be complaining about the West’s
He also pointed out that Iran had a right under international
law to enrich uranium to that degree, which benefits the country separately from
the issue of weapons. If any party wishes Iran “not to have the benefit” of 20%
enriched uranium, the president said, “they must explain why.”
stated that Iran could always “inspire fear in its enemies” and knew how to deal
with any threat.
Western powers have recently suggested that they may be
willing to relax UN-sponsored sanctions if Iran stops enriching uranium to 20%
and hands over any uranium already enriched to that level.
president refused to answer the question of whether his country would recognize
Israel if the Palestinians and other Arab countries in the region did.
merely responded that the issue should be decided by the Palestinian
Regarding Syria, he said that Western governments should not
interpret the events there.
“We know that [those governments] have their
own interests and are against Syrian President Bashar Assad. We cannot
trust them because their goal is to push him out of power,” he said.
denied sending any weapons to Syria in violation of
Ahmadinejad also denied that he had suffered any political
defeat in the recent Iranian elections, claiming that there were no political
candidates specifically linked to him, despite media reports that his political
allies had been handily defeated by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s