ISLAMABAD: Iran is a nuclear power and any attack on the Islamic republic will cost the aggressor a heavy price, said the country’s parliament’s speaker Dr Ali Ardashir Larijani.
“We are not depending on nuclear weapons. We are also strong in other defence sectors,” Larijani said on ExpressNews’ talk show “Kal Tak”. The show will be aired today at 10pm.
Asked if Iran had the capability to defend itself against aggression from Israel, Larijani said the Jewish state would not dare do that because Iran was a much larger and stronger country than Israel.
“If America ever attacked Iran, the government and people of Pakistan will support Iran because Tehran has historic relations with Pakistan and Pakistanis,” said Larijani, adding that America would never commit such a mistake.
He proposed that Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan should jointly devise a solution to the Afghan imbroglio since the region would be left with major issues after the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
Asked about the multi-billion-dollar Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, Larijani said that despite US opposition the two countries should make decisions based on their own interests. He also offered to open up Iran’s borders with Pakistan, if the project was approved.
Larijani belongs to a prominent family of Iran with one of his brothers serving as the chief justice while another is an influential religious leader. He is also a strong candidate for president in the upcoming elections.
The Islamic republic is under various rounds of international sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme which the West fears is aimed at developing weapons. Iran insists its atomic work is peaceful.
On Sunday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Tehran would “not retreat an iota” from “its nuclear rights”.
In an interview published on February 6 in Egyptian media, Ahmadinejad also claimed that Tehran had achieved nuclear capability. However, he said Iran was uninterested in attacking the “Zionist entity”, while referring to Israel.
Decisions on Tehran’s nuclear programme rests with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose representative Saeed Jalili leads the negotiating team in talks with world powers. An earlier proposal by Washington to directly discuss the Iranian programme at Almaty with the Iranian team was shot down by Khamenei last week.
Iran is also being pressured by the UN’s atomic watchdog agency to grant broader access to its facilities, scientists and documents to resolve outstanding concerns over its past atomic activities. translated by Arshad Shaheen
Published in The Express Tribune, February 12th, 2013.
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