A spokesman for the White House National Security Council, Gordon Johndroe, dismissed statements earlier today from Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said his country would target U.S. interests around the world if it came under attack over its disputed nuclear program.
Khamenei's statement came as Iran test-fired a land-to-sea missile with a 350-kilometer range. Iran's Revolutionary Guards unit said the missiles were capable of sinking warships off Iran's coast.
Johndroe said Khamenei "often makes these unprovoked statements." He said U.S. President George W. Bush "has made it clear we have no intention of going to war with Iran."
Bush's chief spokesman, Tony Snow, said later no invasion is being contemplated.
"We are not invading Iran," Snow said
Iran is locked in a standoff with the international community over its nuclear program, which Tehran denies is aimed at developing nuclear weapons.
(AFP, AP, Reuters)
A control panel at the Bushehr nuclear power plant (Fars)
CASCADES AND CENTRIFUGES: Experts and pundits alike continue to debate the goals and status of Iran's nuclear program. It remains unclear whether the program is, as Tehran insists, a purely peaceful enegy project or, as the United States claims, part of an effort to acquire nuclear weapons.
On June 7, 2006, RFE/RL correspondent Charles Recknagel spoke with nuclear expert Shannon Kile of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in Sweden to help sort through some of the technical issues involved. "[Natanz] will be quite a large plant," Kile said. "There will be about 50,000 centrifuges and how much enriched uranium that can produce [is] hard to say because the efficiency of the centrifuges is not really known yet. But it would clearly be enough to be able to produce enough [highly-enriched uranium] for a nuclear weapon in fairly short order, if that's the route that they chose to go...." (more)