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Iran says US attack would be a strategic error
Updated: 2005-01-24 16:44

Iran, responding to comments by senior U.S. officials, said Sunday any U.S. military attack on the country would be a strategic mistake and dismissed the U.S. remarks as "psychological warfare."

US President Bush last week said military action against Iran's nuclear program had not been ruled out and Vice President Dick Cheney said Iran topped the list of world trouble spots and Israel could decide to bomb its nuclear facilities.

But Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said: "We think the chance (of a U.S. military attack) is very low unless someone wants to make a major strategic mistake."

"Logically speaking, we don't think this is going to happen," he told a weekly news conference.

Iranian officials, including President Mohammad Khatami, said last week Iran would respond vigorously to any attack.

Analysts have said Tehran has ballistic missiles capable of striking Israel or U.S. bases in the Gulf and can easily stir up violence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine through proxy agents and militant groups it backs.

Asefi, echoing comments by other senior Iranian officials, dismissed the U.S. remarks as "psychological warfare."

"These kind of remarks are clear examples of cultural and religious war which will only lead to people's hatred of U.S. policies ... and will isolate America more than before," he said.

An article in The New Yorker magazine this month said the United States was conducting secret reconnaissance missions in Iran to help identify potential nuclear, chemical and missile targets.

But Iranian Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi dismissed the report by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh.

"This person is crazy. He thinks Iran is chaotic and that whoever wants to enter the country, can easily do so," the ISNA students news agency quoted Yunesi as saying Sunday. "If it was so, the Americans would have achieved their goals much sooner."

U.S. Pentagon officials have said the New Yorker report was "riddled with errors."

Asefi said Cheney's comments about Israel attacking Iran's nuclear facilities underscored the influence Israel had on U.S. foreign policy.

"Iran has always said that Tel Aviv decides U.S. policies and that the Zionist lobby is so powerful in the United States, therefore we were not surprised by such remarks," he said.

Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and will be used only to generate electricity, not to build atomic bombs.

"The Americans believe they can impose their demands and use force," Asefi said.

"We're expecting Bush in his second term to pay more attention to the international community and organizations which were created to solve international problems and to handle the countries that are not following international demands."

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