Issue 9, Winter 2012
"Iran's Supreme leader lashed out at the United States in a defiant speech vowing to retaliate if necessary against oil sanctions and threats of war and asserting that any attack 'would be 10 times worse for the interests of the United States' than it would be for Iran.
"Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, also issued an unusually blunt warning that Iran would support militant groups opposing Israel, in what some analysts said could be held up by Israel as a justification for war."
"He said Iran 'had its own tools' to respond to threats of war."
Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak, said that if sanctions fail to stop Iran's nuclear program, Israel would need to "consider taking action," according to a report in the daily Haaretz. While visiting Ramstein Air Base in Germany, America's Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta echoed a similar sentiment. "My view is that right now the most important thing is to keep the international community unified in keeping that pressure on, to try to convince Iran that they shouldn't develop a nuclear weapon, that they should join the international family of nations and that they should operate by the rules that we all operate by. But I have to tell you, if they don't, we have all the options on the table, and we'll be prepared to respond if we have to," he said.
"Iran... told U.N. inspectors that it would prevent access to sites and personnel that the West suspects of advancing its work toward nuclear arms capability. The UN Atomic Energy Agency and others had believed Iran's earlier statements that it would 'renew negotiations.' "Iran has refused to address the issue for three years now," said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IEAE). To be fair, you have to give them credit for at lest discussing it. The dialogue is continuing - and that's a good sign - although the agency would have liked to get an access pledge."
The New York Times observed that "Iran has been accused of using false promises and delaying tactics on the diplomatic front to buy time for making advances in its nuclear program."
In the meantime, Reuters has reported that Iran said it will target any country used as a launch against Iran. Reuters characterized Tehran as "expanding Tehran's range of threats in an increasingly volatile stand-off with world powers over its nuclear ambitions." Any spot used by the enemy for hostile operations against Iran will be subjected to retaliatory aggression by our armed forces," Hossein Salami, deputy head of the Revolutionary Guard, told the Fars news agency.
Reuters (February 6, 2012)). Iran threatens to hit any country used to attack its nuclear plants. Haaretz English Edition.
Worth, Robert F. (February 6, 2012). Iran's top leader threatens retaliation over U.S. sanctions. International Herald Tribune - Global Edition of the New York Times.