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Syria Says Iran Attack Would Have 'Grave Consequences' For U.S., Israel


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the Mediterranean summit in Paris

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the Mediterranean summit in Paris

PARIS -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said a military attack on Iran over its nuclear program would have grave consequences for the United States, Israel, and the world.

Speculation of a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities has mounted following a report that Israel staged an air force exercise that was a rehearsal for such an attack.

"It will cost the United States and the planet dear," al-al-Assad said in an interview with France Inter radio, adding that such an attack, if it occurred, would have an impact on Israel.

"Israel will pay directly the price of this war. Iran has said so. The problem is not the action and reaction. The problem is that when one starts such action in the Middle East, one cannot manage the reactions that can spread out over years or even decades," said al-Assad, who came to Paris for the EU-Mediterranean summit.

Al-Assad said logic would dictate that there would be no attack on Iran because of the serious repercussions, but such reasoning was not necessarily shared by the current U.S. administration.

"This administration is an administration whose doctrine is a warmonger's doctrine. It does not reason with our logic, ours and that of most European countries, most countries in the world," al-Assad said.

'Heart Of The Matter'

The Syrian president said he would respond to French President Nicolas Sarkozy's request and use his good relations with Iran to help resolve its nuclear standoff with the West.

"We are going to have discussions with our Iranian friends to get to the heart of the matter, to the details," he said. "This is the first time that we had been asked to play a role."

Iran denies Western charges that it is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian atomic program. Tehran says it only wants to master nuclear technology to generate electricity.

Israel, widely believed to possess the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, has sworn to prevent Iran from attaining nuclear weapons. The Jewish state, however, neither confirms nor denies possessing such weapons.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and other officials have warned that Iran's response to any attack would be quick and harsh.

The United States, which insists Iran must suspend uranium enrichment, has refused to rule out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the nuclear row.

Iranian missile tests last week further stoked tension. Fears of military confrontation between Iran and Israel have helped to send global oil prices to record highs.

Oil exports from the whole Persian Gulf region would be at risk if Iran's exports were hindered by any threat, Iran's OPEC Governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi told Reuters on July 13.

Around 40 percent of global oil shipments leave the Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz off Iran's southern coast. Tehran has threatened to impose controls on shipping there if it is attacked, and warned Gulf neighbors of reprisals if they took part.
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