Rafsanjani Scoffs at Talk of U.S. Attack

Published April 17, 2006

| Associated Press

Iran's former president said Monday that talk of a U.S. military attack on Iran was overblown because it would be "too dangerous" and no Persian Gulf countries would join forces with the United States.

A few reports in the U.S. media have said the United States was developing contingency plans to use military force against Iran if it continues to challenge attempts by the West and the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency to force it to abandon its uranium enrichment program.

The Bush administration has said it had a "number of tools," including a military option, if Tehran did not cease uranium enrichment activities, which can create fuel for a bomb.

"Reports about plans for an American attack on Iran are incorrect," former President Hashemi Rafsanjani said in an appearance before Kuwait's parliament. "We are certain that Americans will not attack Iran because the consequences would be too dangerous."

On Sunday, he said he believed the United States was "incapable of taking a risk or engaging in a new war in the region without discussing the subject seriously."

Rafsanjani also said he was certain that Arab countries in the Persian Gulf would not join the United States. But Iran's allies in the region were voicing their concern.

Kuwaiti lawmaker Mohammed al-Saqer told reporters Monday that "Iranians are escalating every day and this is terrifying not only for the international community but for the region."

"We feel real concern although our ties with Iran are good and Iran is a brotherly country," said Al-Saqer, head of the parliament's foreign relations committee.

The United States and some European countries are accusing Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons, an accusation Tehran denies, saying it intends only to generate electricity.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is due to report to the U.N. Security Council on April 28 whether Iran has met its demand for a full halt to uranium enrichment. If Tehran has not complied, the council will consider the next step.

The United States and Europe are pressing for sanctions against Iran, a step Russia and China have so far opposed.

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