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Clinton Dismisses Iranian Threats Against Israel

  • RFE/RL

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has dismissed Iran's latest threats against Israel as "nothing new," insisting she would judge Tehran by its actions at upcoming nuclear talks.

Clinton, speaking at a news conference in Stockholm, said she was looking forward to what Iran would bring to the table in Moscow for the June 18-19 talks with major world powers. Clinton insisted that she would like to see a diplomatic resolution "for everyone's sake."

Her comments came after Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei cast a shadow over prospects of a resolution with a fiery speech that threatened to respond "like thunder" to any act of aggression by Israel, which is said to be considering military strikes against Tehran's nuclear facilities.

"[Israel] know that under these conditions they are more vulnerable than before," Khamenei said. "If they take any miscalculated action, they will receive a thunderous blow."

Khamenei made the statements in a speech marking the 1989 death of his predecessor and the founder of Iran's Islamic republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He also accused the West of lying about Iran's nuclear program.

"International politicians and media speak of a nuclear Iran, that a nuclear Iran is dangerous. I say they are lying. They are being deceitful," he said. "The thing they are really scared of and they should be scared of is not a nuclear Iran but an Islamic Iran."

The United States and other Western countries suspect Iran of working to acquire a nuclear weapons capability. Tehran insists its program is for peaceful purposes and within its rights.

In Baghdad last month, the six world powers -- the UN Security Council's five permanent members, plus Germany-- demanded that Iran stop uranium enrichment in return for incentives such as spare parts for civilian planes.

Iran's enrichment of uranium at 20 percent -- the highest which Iran has publicly acknowledged -- has worried Western leaders. Tehran has said it may consider suspending 20-percent enrichment only if the West commits to lift recently toughened economic sanctions, including restrictions on the import of Iranian oil.

WIth reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters

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