Iran says would act against enemies if endangered (REUTERS) By Parisa Hafezi TEHRAN, IRAN 02/21/12 8:28am EST)
Reuters News Service
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(Reuters) - Iran would take pre-emptive action against its enemies if
it felt its national interests were endangered, the deputy head of
the Islamic Republic´s armed forces was quoted by a semi-official
news agency as saying on Tuesday.
"Our strategy now is that if we feel our enemies want to endanger
Iran´s national interests, and want to decide to do that, we will act
without waiting for their actions," Mohammad Hejazi told Fars news
Iran is facing increasing international pressure and isolation over
its disputed nuclear activity. Expanded Western sanctions aim to
block its economically vital oil exports and Tehran has said it could
retaliate by shutting the Strait of Hormuz shipping lane vital to
global energy supplies.
Still, a top U.S. intelligence official said last week that while
U.S. spy services believed Iran would respond if attacked, they
thought it was unlikely to start a conflict.
Israel and the United States do not rule out military action against
Iran if sanctions and diplomacy fail to rein in its nuclear energy
Senior U.N. inspectors have begun their second round of talks in
Tehran in three weeks, seeking Iranian explanations with respect to
intelligence about "possible military dimensions" to the Iranian
Iran denies Western accusations that it is covertly seeking the means
to build nuclear weapons and in recent weeks has again vowed no
nuclear retreat, but also voiced willingness to resume negotiations
with world powers without preconditions.
Iran says it is enriching uranium solely as fuel for a future network
of nuclear power stations, not for bombs.
The European Union enraged Tehran last month when it decided to slap
a boycott on its oil to take full effect on July 1.
On Sunday, Iran´s oil ministry announced a retaliatory halt in oil
sales to French and British companies, though that step will be
largely symbolic as those firms had already greatly reduced purchases
of Iranian crude.
On Monday, the European Commission said Belgium, the Czech Republic
and the Netherlands had already stopped buying Iranian oil, while
Greece, Spain and Italy were cutting back purchases.
Tighter sanctions including the pending embargo on Iranian oil
imports into the EU have helped push oil prices up to $119 a barrel
from $107 at the start of the year. (Editing by Mark Heinrich) (©
Thomson Reuters 2012. 02/21/12)
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