Iran confident Israel won’t launch ‘stupid’ attack

"In our calculations, we aren't taking these claims very seriously because we see them as hollow and baseless," foreign ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters in a weekly briefing.

"Even if some officials in the illegitimate regime [Israel] want to carry out such a stupid action, there are those inside [the Israeli government] who won't allow it because they know they would suffer very severe consequences from such an act," he said.

Iran's defence minister, General Ahmad Vahidi, was quoted by the ISNA news agency saying that Israel "definitely doesn't have what it takes to endure Iran's might and will".

He called the Israeli threats "a sign of weakness" by "brainless leaders".

The comments were a response to bellicose rhetoric from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak in recent days suggesting they were thinking more seriously of military action against Iranian nuclear facilities.

Becoming nuclear
"We are determined to prevent Iran from becoming nuclear [armed], and all the options are on the table. When we say it, we mean it," Barak told Israeli radio last Thursday.

Israeli media have underlined the threat, reporting that a decision could be made within weeks. They have also highlighted opposition to the idea by current and former Israeli military officials.

The US has recently multiplied visits by top officials to Israel in what appears to be an attempt to dissuade the Jewish state from targeting the Islamic republic.

"We continue to believe there is time and space for diplomacy," White House spokesperson Jay Carney said on Monday.

Israel insists Iran is on the point of developing nuclear weapons and says it reserves the right to act to prevent that.

Weapons monopoly
The Jewish state has in the past launched air strikes to destroy nuclear facilities in Iraq and, reportedly, in Syria to protect its own regional nuclear weapons monopoly, whose existence it refuses to officially confirm.

Iran says its nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful, civilian uses.

In the past couple of years it has ramped up uranium enrichment to a level just a few steps short of military-grade fissile material, saying those stocks are needed to create medical isotopes. It has also refused UN nuclear inspectors access to suspect military installations.

Renewed negotiations between Iran and the five top UN Security Council powers, plus Germany, have taken place this year. They have been downgraded after it became clear they were in an impasse, but not ended.

In the meantime, Iran is suffering from increasingly tough US and EU economic sanctions that have crippled its all-important oil exports. – Sapa-AFP

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

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

Sapa Afp
Guest Author
Advertisting

The rule of law in times of crisis: Covid-19 and...

Under a state of national disaster, some rights may be suspended. But it is critical to remember that the Constitution itself is not suspended

Test backlog skews SA’s corona stats

With thousands of samples still waiting to be processed, labs are racing to ramp up testing to help the government gain a better idea of how prevalent Covid-19 really is

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories