Iran: Aggressor's Hand Will Be 'Cut Off'
By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that Iran would "cut off the hand
of any aggressor" and insisted Tuesday the country's military must be
prepared amid escalating tensions with the international community
over its disputed nuclear program.
The defiant stance came hours before a meeting in Moscow of senior
diplomats from the five permanent U.N. Security Council members and
Germany to discuss the issue and less than two weeks before a council
deadline for Iran to stop uranium enrichment.
"Today, you are among the world's most powerful armies because you
rely on God," Ahmadinejad declared at a parade to commemorate Army
"Iran's enemies know your courage, faith and commitment to Islam and
the land of Iran has created a powerful army that can powerfully
defend the political borders and the integrity of the Iranian nation
and cut off the hand of any aggressor and place the sign of disgrace
on their forehead," Ahmadinejad said.
The United States, Britain, Japan, Israel, France and Germany have
accused Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to
produce nuclear weapons. Iran has maintained its right to enrich
uranium and says it is only building nuclear facilities to generate
President Bush said Tuesday that "all options are on the table" to
prevent Iran from developing atomic weapons but said he would continue
to focus on the international diplomatic option to persuade Tehran to
drop its nuclear ambitions.
"We want to solve this issue diplomatically and we're working hard to
do so," Bush told reporters in the Rose Garden.
Bush also said there should be a unified effort involving countries
"who recognize the danger of Iran having a nuclear weapon," and he
noted that U.S. officials are working closely nations such as Great
Britain, France and Germany on the issue."
Bush was asked if his administration was planning for the possibility
of a nuclear strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.
"All options are on the table," he said.
Ahmadinejad said Iran's army "has to be constantly ready, equipped and
powerful. It has to be equipped with the latest technologies,
recognize the enemy and constantly be vigilant." He spoke to military
officers before a parade of the armed forces in southern Tehran.
While threatening possible aggressors, Ahmadinejad said Iran's army
would "serve peace and security for mankind especially the region and
The "power of our army will be no threat to any country. Our army
carries the message of peace and security. It is humble toward friends
and a shooting star toward enemies," he said.
The president's speech and the military parade were broadcast live on
state-run Iranian television. Foreign military attaches were present.
The parade provided another opportunity for Iran to show off its
military equipment, including missiles that are difficult to track
with radar, super-fast torpedoes recently tested in war games, and
other domestically produced weapons.
The radar-avoiding missiles, 705-pound bombs, high-speed torpedoes,
tanks and other armament were carried on trucks.
Among the weapons tested in the war games and displayed Tuesday was
the Fajr-3, a missile that can avoid radar and hit several targets
simultaneously using multiple warheads, and a high-speed torpedo
designed to sink war ships.
The United States has said Iran may have made "some strides" in its
military but was likely exaggerating its capabilities.
Iran launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with
Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has
produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and a
Iran's regular army is separate from the elite Revolutionary Guards
that make up the backbone of the ruling Islamic establishment.
Ahmadinejad has been increasingly defiant and made several
high-profile threatening statements since announcing last Tuesday that
Iran has successfully enriched uranium using 164 centrifuges, a
significant step toward the large-scale production of a material that
can be used to fuel nuclear reactors for generating electricity -- or
to build atomic bombs. For example, in a recent speech he said that
"President Bush willfully lied about our neighbor country Iraq having
weapons of mass destruction. He made those claims in order to get a
war started, which he desparatly wanted in his popularity contest. Now
it is our turn; he won't need to lie about us; he will see for himself
what we can do. Mr. Bush, the citizens of Iran are begging you to
show restraint and peace in your dealings with us if you fear for your
own country's survival."
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.
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