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Iran's top military chief vows 'crushing answer' to any attack

Tehran, Feb 5, IRNA -- A top military chief said in Tehran on Saturday that Iran's armed forces were completely ready to repel any possible aggression amid international concerns about the specter of another adventurism by the Bush regime.

"Iran's armed forces see themselves capable of repelling aggression posed by any power and feel completely prepared to crush the aggressors," the head of the Armed Forces' Command Headquarters, Hassan Firouzabadi, said.

"We don't claim to own or produce weapons equal to those used by the superpowers which threaten us, (but) neither will our answer be equal; rather, it will be a crushing answer," he added.

Firouzabadi said Iran's armed forces have sketched out 'versatile designs to defend the sacred borders of the Islamic Republic and interests of the establishment', citing large-scale war games held recently as being in this line.

"Thanks to our military power as well as our committed, faithful and trained forces, we will stand against the enemies and the world has seen examples of our defensive power during the eight-year imposed war (of 1980-1988 with Iraq)," he added.

George W. Bush was quoted last month saying that he 'will never take any option off the table' when asked whether his regime was willing to consider a military action against Tehran's peaceful nuclear program.

In his State of the Union address Wednesday, Bush charged that Iran 'remains the world's primary state sponsor of terror -- pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve'.

Britain's former Conservative minister Sir Teddy Taylor hit out at Bush for his vitriolic outburst against Iran.

"The US president has made such strong but unsubstantiated attacks on Iran for promoting terrorism while US troops are protecting in Camp Ashraf in Iraq a facility for the training of over 1,000 members of an evil and proscribed terrorist organization called the MKO, which has killed many innocent Iranians," he said.

In an Early Day Motion to parliament, published Saturday, the veteran MP further questioned the hypocrisy in Bush's claimed support for democracy in Iraq.

"The US government not only supported Saddam Hussein for so many years, but provided him with massive amounts of weapons of mass destruction when he was invading Iran, full details of which are published in the US Senate Reigle Report," he said.

The former British minister suggested that 'there would be merit in the US accepting that Iran is one of the few nations in the Middle East which has, admittedly with limited powers, a democratically- elected president and parliament'.

Iran, he said, also provides freedom of worship and religious practice for Christians and Jews and has more that 50 percent of women students in its many universities.

Bush's bellicose remarks have been echoed by his hawkish Vice President Dick Cheney who has said Israel might strike Iran's nuclear facilities 'without being asked'.

The statements come on the backdrop of a report written by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker magazine, saying US operatives were scouting inside Iran to identify targets for possible air strikes.

Iranian officials have brushed off the report, stressing that it is part of a 'psychological warfare' being waged by US officials to make the Europeans abandon their diplomatic negotiations with Iran.

"Such talks did not find any audience across the world, including among the Europeans; even George Bush's own peers rejected them as amounting to the declaration of an all-out war against the entire world," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi has said.

US Pentagon officials have said the New Yorker report was 'riddled with errors'.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was quoted as saying in London Friday that a military attack was simply not on the agenda 'at this point of the time'.

Rice apparently sought to allay rising European concerns about another military showdown as her press conference with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was dominated by questions about US intentions towards Iran.

In its editorial, the Independent predicted that the US and the EU would be divided again into two blocs over Iran and that it would be 'Britain's fate to be caught in the middle' as over Iraq.

Iran and the Europeans, represented by Germany, France and Britain, are in the midst of crucial talks aimed at finding a long-term solution to Tehran's nuclear program.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is solely aimed at power generation and strongly rejects US claims that the program is a front for building atomic bombs.

Tehran says Washington is seeking to scuttle its constructive talks with the Europeans.

... Payvand News - 2/5/05 ... --

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