Iran General NewsCleric says Iran a threat to U.S., Britain

Cleric says Iran a threat to U.S., Britain

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Reuters: Iran is not a threat to Middle East stability but it is a threat to the United States and its European ally Britain, a hardline cleric said on Friday. TEHRAN, Dec 15 (Reuters) – Iran is not a threat to Middle East stability but it is a threat to the United States and its European ally Britain, a hardline cleric said on Friday.

The mid-ranking cleric’s remarks came in reaction to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who on Tuesday called Iran a “major threat” to the region’s stability.

“Regarding Blair’s devilish remarks, I am telling him that if he means Iran is a threat to Britain, yes we are,” Ahmad Khatami told Friday prayers worshippers in Tehran University.

“If he means we are a threat to America’s arrogance, yes we are and we are proud of it.”

Khatami, who is not related to the reformist former President Mohammad Khatami and does not hold any positions directly related to policy-making, said the United States, Britain and Israel caused instability in the Middle East.

“We are not a threat to regional countries. They are the main threat to international peace and stability,” Khatami said in remarks broadcast live on state radio.

“These wolves are prepared to burn the world for their own interests, like they did in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon.”

He seized on remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert this week which were widely interpreted as an admission that the Jewish state has nuclear weapons.

“It is strange that instead of seriously considering this blood-thirsty butcher’s remarks … Westerners pressure Iran over its nuclear work,” Khatami said to chants of “Nuclear technology is our obvious right.”

Iran says its own nuclear programme is entirely peaceful. Aides to Olmert said his remarks in a German TV interview did not constitute an admission or change of policy.

Analysts say Israel has up to 200 nuclear warheads.

“They (the international community) will face consequences for not stopping this wild and brainless animal,” he added, referring to the Israeli premier.

The U.N. Security Council is close to passing a resolution against Iran for refusing to halt its nuclear fuel work. The United States and many European nations want to impose sanctions but Russia has sought to reduce any penalties on Tehran.

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