Iran dismisses reports of Israeli strike

Mottaki: Israel "still facing the post-trauma" from Lebanon;" official had said attack possible in '08.

Mottaki 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Mottaki 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Teheran on Wednesday dismissed reports that came a day earlier of an impending Israeli attack on his country's nuclear program. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that the chances of such an attack were slim. "Where Israel is today... will not allow it to engage in regional adventurism," Mottaki told NBC News. "Israel is still facing the post-trauma of the attack against Lebanon in 2006. So we don't believe that Israel... is in a position to be able to engage in another attack in the region." Mottaki threatened that Iran's response to any attack would be widespread, regardless of whether the strike came from Israel or the United States. "It should be understood that all efforts should be made towards Israel avoiding a militaristic action in the region," he said. On Tuesday, hours after Pentagon officials were quoted as saying the Jewish state was likely to attack the Islamic Republic by the end of the year, a senior American official said Israel is unlikely to feel the need to stage a military strike on Iran in 2008. "I honestly don't think your government will feel so much pressure to resort to military force" by the end of the year, the official said, adding, however, that he didn't rule out the use of force. The official's comments contrasted starkly with an ABC news report that quoted US defense officials voicing concern that Israel would target the Islamic Republic's nuclear installations by the end of 2008, and saying that such a move might prompt a wave of Iranian retaliatory attacks against both Israeli and US targets. Meanwhile, US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead was quoted as saying that the US was currently in favor of exhausting the diplomatic track in trying to deal with the looming Iranian nuclear threat. Roughhead told Army Radio that Washington had been brought up to speed on an extensive IAF drill held several weeks ago over the Mediterranean which reportedly simulated in attack on Iran. Earlier this week, The Sunday Times quoted defense officials as saying that Iran had stepped up deterrent efforts by moving ballistic missiles into launch positions and targeting various sites in Israel, including the Dimona nuclear plant. On Saturday, former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit warned in an interview with the British Daily Telegraph that time was running out on the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear targets, since Teheran could attain military nuclear capability within a year. Herb Keinon contributed to this report