Iran warns Obama over new nuclear policy

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday warned his United States counterpart, Barack Obama, of a “tooth-breaking” response, as he condemned Washington’s new nuclear policy.

Ahmadinejad lashed out after the US unveiled new limits on use of the nation’s nuclear arsenal, but suggested that exceptions could be made for “outliers” such as Iran and North Korea, both accused by the West of flouting United Nations resolutions concerning their nuclear programmes.

“I hope these published comments are not true … he [Obama] has threatened with nuclear and chemical weapons those nations which do not submit to the greed of the United States,” Ahmadinejad said in speech broadcast live on state television.

“Be careful. If you set step in Mr [George] Bush’s path, the nations’ response would be the same tooth-breaking one as they gave Bush,” he said as crowds in the north-western city of Orumieh cheered “Death to America!”

In a policy shift, Washington said on Tuesday it would only use atomic weapons in “extreme circumstances” and would not attack non-nuclear states — but singled out Iran and North Korea as exceptions.

After a year of attempting diplomatic initiatives, Obama in recent weeks has ratcheted up pressure for imposing new UN sanctions against Iran for pursuing its nuclear programme, which Washington suspects is masking a weapons drive.

Ahmadinejad brushed off Obama’s policy, saying it reflected “his inexperience”.

“What Mr Obama has said, even Mr Bush whose hands were smeared with blood of nations did not,” said the hardliner who has refused to budge under Western pressure to abandon Tehran’s atomic drive.

“We advise Mr Obama to be careful in not signing anything they put in front. Wait and weigh things a bit. Beware that those who were bigger and stronger than you could not do a damn thing, let alone you,” he said.

Not alone
Ahmadinejad was not alone in condemning Washington’s nuclear policy, which also came under attack on Wednesday from two other top Iranian officials.

“We regard the recent position and comments of the United States as propaganda,” Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told reporters.

Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said the new US policy supported Israel.

“They use new designs for new bombs, support Israel, which has many nuclear warheads, but on the other hand pressure Iran. This is exactly a domineering order and oppressive dealing which Iran does not accept,” he was quoted as saying by the ILNA news agency.

Israel is Middle East’s sole but undeclared nuclear power and it has not ruled out a military strike against Iran to stop its atomic programme.

Mottaki, meanwhile, said Iran was still hopeful that a UN-drafted nuclear fuel deal could be finalised if the US, France and Russia showed “political will”. — AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Hiedeh Farmani
Hiedeh Farmani works from Toronto. ex-AFP journalist in Tehran, news hound, writer/editor

Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Press Releases

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

Openview, now powered by two million homes

The future of free-to-air satellite TV is celebrating having two million viewers by giving away two homes worth R2-million

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday