Iran General NewsIran warns Israel against extending conflict

Iran warns Israel against extending conflict

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AFP: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad boasted Friday that Israel is not powerful enough to take on Iran after warning the Jewish state not to attack regional ally Syria. by Siavosh Ghazi

TEHRAN, July 14, 2006 (AFP) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad boasted Friday that Israel is not powerful enough to take on Iran after warning the Jewish state not to attack regional ally Syria.

“Thanks be to God, despite its criminal and savage nature, the Zionist regime and its supporters in the West do not have the power to look in the same way towards Iran,” the ultra-conservative president said in a speech in the provinces.

He was speaking as Israel continued its offensive in Lebanon sparked by the capture Wednesday by Iran- and Syria-backed Hezbollah militiamen of two Israeli soldiers and the killing of eight others.

“Attacks by the Zionist regime against its neighbours, notably Lebanon, Syria, and its threats against other countries in the region are due to the fact that this puppet regime cannot live normally,” IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

“This situation cannot last, and one day the protectors of the Zionist regime — the US in particular — will have to explain themselves and be judged by the conscience of humanity,” he added.

His comments came after he warned Israel against conducting any attack against Syria — the Islamic republic’s only ally in the region.

“If Israel commits another act of idiocy and aggresses Syria, this will be the same as an aggression against the entire Islamic world and it will receive a stinging response,” he said in a telephone conversation with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad.

“The Israeli aggressions are a result of the weakness of a puppet regime that is on its way towards disappearing,” state television quoted him as saying.

The hardline president, famed for calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map”, also said the “Zionists and their protectors are the people held in most contempt by humanity” and promised their “rapid downfall”.

He told Lebanon’s pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud that “Iran would put all its potential at the service of Lebanon.”

“Iran will stay by the side of the Lebanese in the delicate circumstances in their homeland,” he said in a seperate phone conversation, according to a statement from the Lebanese presidency.

In his speech on Friday, Ahmadinejad again questioned the Holocaust, saying “the Zionist regime prevented historians and researchers from investigating it”.

“There are still questions… maybe in your so-called Holocaust more than six million Jews were massacred (during World War II), so why do you not allow people to undertake new research?” he asked.

Israel and the United States both blame Iran, along with Syria, of having close control over Lebanon’s Hezbollah militants who captured two Israeli soldiers in an attack that sparked Israeli military retaliation against Lebanon.

The US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, said that Iran may be behind the escalating violence between Israel and Lebanon as it seeks to deflect world pressure on its nuclear programme.

“I believe that it has a lot to do with the evolving situation with regard to the Iranian nuclear issue,” Khalilzad told CNN television Thursday.

“It is possible that the Iranians refuse to cooperate with the proposal that was offered to them as they come under more pressure to cooperate, and they may escalate things in Lebanon,” he said.

On Wednesday the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany decided to refer Iran’s suspect atomic ambitions back to New York after Iran refused to halt sensitive uranium enrichment work.

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