Iran's defense minister describes the remarks made by the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as an attempt to sell more weapons and create fear in the region.
Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi (center left) -- April 2010
"These statements are not official... and from our view they are
unimportant and there is no need to answer them," Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi
said on Wednesday.
On December 18, Mike Mullen, who was in Bahrain's capital of Manama, home to a large US navy base, said Washington was "very ready" to counter Iran should Tehran make a move.
"There are real threats to peace and stability here, and we've made no secrets of our concerns about Iran," Mullen said.
"From my perspective I see Iran continuing on this path to develop nuclear weapons, and I believe that that development and achieving that goal would be very destabilizing to the region," he added.
Amid a standoff over Iran's nuclear program, both Tel Aviv and Washington have repeatedly threatened Tehran with a military strike, based on the allegation that Iran's nuclear work may have a covert military aspect -- a claim Iran has repeatedly denied.
The latest threat of military action against Iran came in November by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who urged Washington to "destroy" the Islamic Republic through military action.
"Not to just neutralize their nuclear program, but to sink their navy, destroy their air force and deliver a decisive blow to the Revolutionary Guard, in other words neuter that regime," Graham said.
Mullen, himself, had also said in the past that he was ready to start a war if he was convinced it would keep Iran from making a "bomb."
This is while Iran says its nuclear program is completely peaceful and within the framework of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which it is a signatory.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has, in its many reports, also verified the non-diversion of nuclear material in Iran toward military objectives.
In August, Iran complained to the UN Security Council and the General Assembly about US military threats over Tehran's nuclear program based on "completely false" grounds.
Iranian officials have warned that any act of aggression by the US or Israel against Iran's nuclear facilities would be firmly responded to and could result in a war that would spread beyond the Middle East.
"[The aim] of these statements is to sell more weapons and create fear in the region," ISNA quoted Vahidi as saying.
The US and four Arab countries of the Persian Gulf have signed a huge arms accord based on which Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates are scheduled to buy USD 123 billion worth of arms from the US in the next four years.
The US seeks to distance regional countries from Iran, but has failed to achieve this objective, the Iranian defense minister concluded.
Mullen's remarks came while the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council issued a statement at the end of a two-day summit in Abu Dhabi on December 7, and called for the enhancement of relations with Iran.
The (P)GCC member states said they were keen to forge closer cooperation with Tehran and underlined that they favor cooperation based on mutual respect, non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations and peaceful settlement of differences without resorting to force or threats.
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