Ahmadinejad: Israel lacks courage to attack Iran
Iranian leader tells Al Jazeera he doesn’t think threat of attack by US or Israel is 'serious'; says Persian Gulf states 'too smart' to allow use of US bases in their territory for strike on Tehran. Adds: We'll work to produce nuclear fuel independently
In an interview with Arabic satellite television channel Al Jazeera, aired Sunday, Ahmadinejad rejected the possibility of an Israeli or American strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, saying, "Israel does not have the courage to do it… I do not think the threat is serious."
According to him, the Persian Gulf states would not permit the use of US bases in their territory to launch an attack against Iran. "They are smarter than that," said Ahmadinejad.
In the interview, Iran's president offered friendship to the United States but also taunted Washington by saying he does not fear an attack by the US because it could not even defeat a small army in Iraq.
President Barack Obama has repeatedly offered to start a dialogue with Iran, but his administration says Iran chose international isolation instead. The two countries are at odds over Iran's nuclear program, which the US fears is aimed at producing weapons though Tehran denies it.
US military chief Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said earlier this month that the US military has a plan to attack Iran, although he thinks a military strike is probably a bad idea. Still, he said the risk of Iran developing a nuclear weapon is unacceptable and he reiterated that "the military option" remains on the table.
Saturday, outside Bushehr reactor (Photo: AFP)
"There are no logical reasons for the United States to carry out such an act," President Ahmadinejad told Al Jazeera, according to an Arabic translation of the interview in Farsi.
"Do you believe an army that has been defeated by a small army in Iraq can enter into a war with a large and well trained army like the Iranian army?" he asked, referring to the insurgents in Iraq.
He said Washington lacks real motives for attacking Iran and will not benefit from hostility.
"The friendship of Iran is much better than its hostility," he said.
Ahmadinejad continued to say that Iran was working to produce nuclear fuel independently, "because receiving it from an outside source is conditioned on diplomatic criteria."
To prevent Iran from using the Bushehr reactor to produce plutonium, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as Russia, which built the power plant, are making sure Iran returns the fuel rods it had received.
"There is a difference between those who produce and those who buy. We must make sure our nuclear power plant continues to operate. We do not trust the West, despite our good relations with Russia," Ahmadinejad said.
"We need 20 power plants like the one on Bushehr," he added.
AP, AFP contributed to the report
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