AFP: An Iranian foreign ministry official Friday in Warsaw played down the likelihood of a Western attack or invasion of his country, saying the “possibility of war is very, very weak.”
WARSAW (AFP) — An Iranian foreign ministry official Friday in Warsaw played down the likelihood of a Western attack or invasion of his country, saying the “possibility of war is very, very weak.”
Western threats of war “are so frequent that it would seem to indicate an attack or invasion will certainly not occur,” Ramin Mehmanparast, a spokesman and vice minister at the Iranian foreign ministry, told journalists.
Israel has repeatedly raised the possibility of attacking Iran in order to pre-empt it from acquiring a nuclear bomb, a move Tehran insists is not on its agenda.
“At the moment, Iran has the greatest defence capability in its history. Whoever wants to attack our country, will meet with our very firm response,” Mehmanparast said during a visit to the Polish capital for bilateral talks.
“This is why our adversary completely understands that should it attack our country, it will itself become the subject of a great tragedy,” he said, adding: “This is why the possibility of war is very, very weak.”
Mehmanparast also slammed a slew of tough Western sanctions on Iran’s trade and banking sectors aimed at stifling its nuclear program as “completely illegal and unjustified because our nation has not committed any crime.”
But the sanctions have had the welcome “side effect of making Iran increasingly self-sufficient in many economic sectors,” he noted.
“If we were to make light of it, we could thank the US and European states for levelling sanctions because they have actually spurred economic growth” in the oil-rich state, he added.
“When growth in many Western countries is either negative or around zero, in Iran we have 6.2 percent growth in GDP,” said the official, who holds an MBA from Canada’s Carlton University.
A series of reforms eliminating fuel and other subsidies have so far freed up $150 billion (113 billion euros) for investment over the last two years in the country of 74 million, the spokesman added.
Within two years all subsidies are to be cut within two years, which Mehmanparast said would free up some $130 billion to $150 billion for investment.
“This year our national budget is 500 billion dollars. This indicates our country’s economic potential — the potential of a country experiencing sanctions,” he said.
Mehmanparast discounted, as “very far from the truth,” fresh allegations by a US Republican congressman and Western experts that Iran is preparing to launch a potentially crippling cyber-attack on the United States and its allies.
The official also termed a “media hoax” a popular Facebook anti-war campaign dubbed “Israel loves Iran.”
Recently launched by an Israeli graphic artist opposed to Israel’s sabre-rattling against Iran, the page features an anti-war cyber poster blitz and has so far garnered 63,300 “likes” and a lively response from Iranian Internet users.