Iran's president offers friendship to US but taunts military, saying it couldn't win in Iraq

CAIRO (AP) — Iran's president offered friendship to the United States but also taunted Washington by saying he does not fear an attack by the U.S. because it could not even defeat a small army in Iraq, according to a television interview with the leader aired Sunday.

President Barack Obama has repeatedly offered to start a dialogue with Iran, but his administration says Iran chose international isolation instead. The two countries are at odds over Iran's nuclear program, which the U.S. fears is aimed at producing weapons though Tehran denies it.

U.S. military chief Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said earlier this month that the U.S. military has a plan to attack Iran, although he thinks a military strike is probably a bad idea. Still, he said the risk of Iran developing a nuclear weapon is unacceptable and he reiterated that "the military option" remains on the table.

"There are no logical reasons for the United States to carry out such an act," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the Arabic satellite television channel Al Jazeera, according to an Arabic translation of the interview in Farsi.

"Do you believe an army that has been defeated by a small army in Iraq can enter into a war with a large and well trained army like the Iranian army?" he asked, referring to the insurgents in Iraq.

He said Washington lacks real motives for attacking Iran and will not benefit from hostility.

"The friendship of Iran is much better than its hostility," he said.