AFP: Iran warned on Tuesday that an attack on its first nuclear power plant would amount to an “international crime,” as the countdown started for the launch of the Russian-built facility.
TEHRAN, August 17, 2010 (AFP) – Iran warned on Tuesday that an attack on its first nuclear power plant would amount to an “international crime,” as the countdown started for the launch of the Russian-built facility.
“Attacking an international plant is an international crime as the consequences will not be limited to the hosting country but will have a global aftermath,” Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi told the state IRNA news agency.
Iran’s first and much-delayed nuclear power plant near the southern port city of Bushehr will go online on August 21 to eventually generate electricity, at a time of mounting international pressure on Tehran over its atomic programme.
The United States and Israel, which accuse the Islamic republic of seeking nuclear weapons, have never ruled out a military strike to curb Iran’s atomic drive. Iran insists the programme is solely aimed at peaceful ends.
Former US envoy to the United Nations John Bolton said Monday that Israel has “eight days” to launch a military strike against Iran’s Bushehr nuclear facility to stop Tehran from acquiring a functioning atomic plant.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman dismissed a possible Israeli attack on the Bushehr plant.
“These threats had become repetitive and lost their meaning,” Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters on Tuesday.
“According to international law, installations which have real fuel cannot be attacked because of the humanitarian consequences,” he said.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, an Iranian air force jet reportedly crashed in Bushehr province but the pilot survived.
Officials say Tehran has stepped up defensive measures at the plant to protect it from possible attacks.