Iranian Flag (R)_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Iran on Tuesday addressed statements made recently by former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, that a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be “foolish.”
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“The fact that the Zionist regime’s officials say they have silly ideas is important, as they had in the past many idiotic ideas,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Tuesday during a news conference.
Dagan was harshly criticized by Israeli officials for statements made May 6 during a lecture at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He said the effectiveness of an attack would be questionable, but it was almost certain that such a strike would lead to a regional war involving missile attacks from Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and possibly Syria.
In another development, Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power station has begun operating
at a low level in a crucial step toward bringing it online, the Russian company that built the plant said on Tuesday.
The generating unit at Iran’s first atomic power plant was brought up to the “minimum controllable level of power” on Sunday, Atomstroyexport, the state-owned Russian company that builds nuclear plants abroad, said in a statement.
“This means that a nuclear reaction has begun,” Vladislav Bochkov, spokesman for Atomstroyexport’s parent company Rosatom, told Reuters. “This is one of the final stages in the physical launch of the reactor.” Begun in the 1970s by a German consortium, construction on the plant was abandoned after Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution and has faced repeated delays since the mid-1990s, when Moscow reached a $1 billion deal with Tehran to complete it.
Meanwhile, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator replied on Tuesday to a letter from European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on fresh nuclear talks, saying they should be “just,” state television reported.
“The letter was handed over in Vienna by Iran’s ambassador.
In the letter, Saeed Jalili welcomed P5+1’s return to talks, underlining the talks should be just and without pressuring the other party,” the Arabic-language al Alam channel reported.
“P5+1” is the diplomatic acronym for the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain – as well as Germany.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had said in Istanbul on Monday that the next round of nuclear talks would be held in the Turkish city, without giving a date.
Iran’s last talks with the six powers in January made no headway in part because the Islamic Republic again ruled out suspending uranium enrichment, as demanded by several Security Council resolutions dating to 2006.
The US and its European allies suspect Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons capability under the cover of its declared civilian atomic energy program. Tehran denies it, saying it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity.
The Islamic Republic said earlier this month that Teheran had received a letter from Ashton, who has represented six world powers in previous talks.