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Iranian Reformist Leader Condemns Foreign Threats

Source: Radio Zamaneh

Former president Mohammad Khatami says any aggression against Iran by foreign forces will be countered by Iranians of all political persuasions.

Mohammad Khatami
Mohammad Khatami

Khatami's website reports that in a speech to reformist youths in Azerbaijan, Khatami described Israel's statements about a possible attack on Iran as "psychological warfare and a bluff." However, he added that "they are preparing public perception so that one day when, God forbid, they do want to do something, public perception would be ready for it."

The former president added there are elements in both the U.S. and Iran that "do not mind if the matter leads to violence and becomes more acute."

He expressed hope that the American president would not be influenced by those who seek war and also that Iranian leaders will not be swayed by those "who feed on crises, violence and conflict."

In recent weeks a number of Israeli officials have been beating their war drums against Iran. Iran has responded by saying it will retaliate with "full force" against any aggression.

Khatami commented on the recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency, saying: "In 2008, the U.S. reported that Iran had had no nuclear activity on the military front since 2003. I was not president at the time but I did announce even before 2003 that there were no such activities. Now why is it that in 2011 they are suddenly claiming there are military dimensions to our nuclear program?"

He went on to add: "They are clearly trying to increase pressure on Iran, but it is also possible that our own behaviour and statements are goading them on. However, these unsubstantiated statements are part of a plan to put pressure on Iran."

The latest IAEA report expresses concerns about the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear activities.

Iran accuses the IAEA of publishing unsubstantiated reports and claims Yukiya Amano, the agency chief, is a pawn of western powers, publishing reports that are politically motivated rather than scientifically researched.

Tehran has consistently stated that its nuclear program is completely peaceful.

In another part of his speech, former president Khatami once again laid out the pre-conditions necessary for all Iranian to participate in the coming elections: "the freedom of political prisoners, an end to house arrests and an opening of the political space" in the country.

After the fierce crackdown on protesters who questioned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory in the 2009 presidential election, the reformists have challenged the openness of the election process and have spoken of boycotting the coming parliamentary elections in March if the political situation is not improved.

The conservatives, on the other hand, have arrested scores of reformists and protesters. They have also put the opposition leaders MirHosein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi under house arrest and announced that the major reformist parties are banned from official participation in the parliamentary elections.

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