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Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi Photo: Reuters
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi Photo: Reuters
 
 

Iran says allowed to build overseas arms facilities

Tehran halfheartedly admits to backing weapons factory in Sudan; FM Salehi says 'If Israel was ready to strike Iran it would have done so by now'

Roi Kais
Latest Update: 11.05.12, 19:14 / Israel News

Iran halfheartedly admitted that it had established the Sudanese weapons factory that was destroyed in an air raid last week, defiantly stating that it has the right to build arms facilities overseas.

 

In a Sunday interview with Qatari newspaper Al-Waten, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was asked about the the Iranian link to Sudanese military complex that was allegedly bombed by Israel.

 

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"Let us assume Iran founded a weapons factory in Sudan; is it forbidden? It is international trades between our countries, governments purchase arms for other countries – it's natural," he said. 

 

Salehi was also asked whether Iran plans to build weapon production facilities in other countries, to which he replied: "Under international laws, if a country wishes to buy arms from us we are ready and willing."

 

The Qatari journalist challenged Salehi, asking him if Tehran considered the strike in Sudan a prelude for a future attack against Iran's nuclear facilities.

 

"That is what we heard over the news," he said. "But if Israel wanted to strike Iran it wouldn't have made so much noise about it, but would have simply attacked. Let them try it if they can – if Israel was ready to strike Iran it would have happened by now."

 

When asked what, in his opinion, could be causing Israel's hesitations, Salehi said: "We may suffer from this attack, but the Israelis are afraid of the results of such an attack. We won't sit idly by if it happens."

 

The journalist described how, at one point in the interview, Salehi walked up to a map mounted on the wall in his chambers and pointed to the countries surrounding Israel. "Before the IAF attacked Sudan they passed through the airspace of three countries I do not wish to name. There is no doubt these countries knew about the Israeli strike prior to the execution," he said.

 

The journalist suggested Israel disrupted the radar systems in these countries, to which Salehi countered: "If that's what happened – then it's much worse."

  

Salehi was asked about the Iranian drone launched at Israel by Hezbollah in September, and whether Iran acquired important intelligence regarding IDF bases and Israel's intentions about a possible strike. "We got hold of confidential information I cannot reveal," the Iranian FM said.

 

Asked if by launching the drone Iran provided Israel with a new excuse to strike Lebanon, Salehi replied: "Why is the Zionist entity allowed to send jets to strike Gaza, and while others do the same, there is talk about excuses? It is necessary that Hezbollah will be aware of what is happening there in order to prepare itself."  

 

Salehi also commented on the West, mainly US, casting blame at Iran: "There isn't a single negative thing in the world we were not blamed for by US. It wouldn't come as a surprise if we were blamed for causing hurricane Sandy."

 

'Iran not cooperating with IAEA'

Meanwhile, the UN nuclear chief said Monday that Iran is not cooperating with an investigation into suspected secret work on nuclear weapons.

 

Yukio Amano told the UN General Assembly on Monday that talks between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran have intensified this year.

 

"However, no concrete results have been achieved so far," he said.

 

In his annual report to the world body, Amano says he also remains "seriously concerned" about North Korea's nuclear program, calling its statements about uranium enrichment activities and the construction of a light water reactor "deeply troubling."

 

He also urges the Syrian government to respond to questions about a building destroyed by Israeli warplanes in the Syrian desert in 2007 which the IAEA says was "very likely" the covert site of a nuclear reactor.

 

 

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First Published: 11.05.12, 16:19

 

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