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.
|Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
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.
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