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10/25/08

Iranian Cleric Alleges US Nuclear Blast in First Persian Gulf War

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (file photo)
Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
A senior Iranian cleric has raised allegations the United States used a small nuclear weapon in the first Gulf War, a charge the U.S. denies.

Iranian state media reports former president Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani Friday is questioning why journalists have not pursued a report that the U.S. exploded an atomic weapon in the final days of the 1991 war.

A spokesman for U.S. Central Command told VOA the reason is that the alleged incident never happened. Spokesman Major Joe Kloppel said Friday such an assertion is completely unfounded.

Iran media report that during Friday prayers, Rafsanjani referred to an Italian television interview earlier this month with a U.S. Gulf War veteran. The former soldier alleged that in February 1991, the U.S. detonated a 5-kilogram bomb between the southern Iraqi city Basra and the Iranian border.

The veteran said he had records of seismic activity in the area at the time to back up his claim.

The U.S. military says some of the larger conventional weapons used during the war could have caused such a seismic event. It has always maintained that only conventional weapons were used during the conflict.

Mr. Rafsanjani's accusation comes one day after Washington imposed sanctions against an Iranian bank, as well as 13 foreign companies that the U.S. says passes sensitive technology to, among other countries, Iran.

Iran is under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear activities. Western nations accuse it of trying to develop nuclear weapons, while Tehran says its program is for peaceful, civilian needs. 

... Payvand News - 10/25/08 ... --



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