Iranian Students Chant 'Death to America' and 'Death to Israel' While Forming Human Chain to Defend Nuclear Site
November 15, 2011
Iran is taking seriously the reported threat of a military strike against its nuclear facilities, a senior Iranian official said Tuesday while insisting that any such action would be "very silly."
With tensions again rising over Iran's nuclear program, Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior advisor to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and head of the government's human rights council, insisted his country would never give up its right to acquire nuclear technology.
Questioned about reported threats of a military strike, Larijani told reporters: "No threat to Iran is taken superficially by the people in charge. We are fully prepared to confront any challenge. And to attack Iran may not be very difficult."
Military strikes would be "very silly," Larijani added on the sidelines of a visit to the United Nations. He also referred to the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists which the Islamic state has blamed on Israel and the United States.
"If you kill two scientists there are hundreds more, if you hit one place then another one will be built," he said.
"We are very proud that we know this technology and science. We are very proud that we are number one in the region. Nobody can deprive Iran of this capability," he declared.
Larijani repeated accusations that Israel "with the cooperation of the United States" was behind the killings in January 2010 and November last year of two Iranian nuclear scientists.
He was also asked about an explosion on Saturday at a military base near Tehran in which a top missile expert was killed. Larijani said first signs indicated "an accident" but that an investigation was underway.
The International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors' meets in Vienna on Thursday and Friday, and western powers want a resolution condemning Iran over a new report on its nuclear drive.
The United States and its European allies accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear bomb. Tehran denies the charge. Reports that Israel or another nation could launch a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities have stoked the tensions.
November 15, 2011
Hundreds of Iranian students on Tuesday formed a human chain around one of the Islamic republic's nuclear sites, vowing to strongly respond to any strike by arch-foe Israel, Fars news agency reported.
"We are promising the leaders of world arrogance (the West) that even if one bullet is fired towards Iran we will demolish Tel Aviv in three days," Fars quoted a student leader as saying in a speech at the Isfahan uranium conversion facility.
Chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Israel," the students carried a Wild West-styled wanted poster depicting US President Barack Obama's as a fugitive from law.
The demonstration comes about a week after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported "credible" evidence that Iran had worked towards nuclear weapons.
Iran criticised the Vienna-based atomic watchdog for giving up its "earlier objectivity" in the report, which it rejected as "baseless" and hewing to Israeli and US intelligence.
Tuesday's student gathering, which is not the first of its kind in the past decade of Iran's stand-off with the West over its controversial nuclear drive, comes amid speculation of an Israeli military strike.
The rumours were further stoked by a news report saying that Israel's foreign intelligence service Mossad was behind a deadly munitions blast in Iran last weekend.
In an interview published Sunday in Germany's Der Spiegel magazine, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said he sees no more room for compromise in the battle over Tehran's contested nuclear programme.
At the same time, Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani warned Tehran must review its cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog due to the hostile nature of the report.
Subject to four sets of UN sanctions and several Western sanctions over its enrichment programme, Iran has so far refused to freeze its uranium enrichment activities.
Washington and its Western partners want the IAEA board to approve a "clear resolution" condemning Iran at a scheduled meeting on Thursday and Friday. This could even go as far as to referring Iran to the UN Security Council.