- NYT’s David Brooks: Obama has ‘manhood problem’ in Middle East
- Ted Cruz thanks Obama for denying visas to terrorists
- Survivors recall chaos, fear in Everest avalanche
- General Mills apologizes for ‘right to sue’ confusion, reverses policy
- Dealer wanted in U.S. for art fraud nabbed in Spain
- Easter morning delivery for space station
- Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76
- Probe could complicate Rick Perry’s prospects
- Ukraine, Russia trade blame for eastern shootout
- Obamas head to church on Easter morning
Iran’s Khamenei: Israel risks ‘lightning’ reply
TEHRAN (AP) — Iran‘s supreme leader warned Sunday that any Israeli attack would be answered with a “lightning” response by the Islamic Republic and suggested that Iran‘s nuclear program cannot be curtailed by Western sanctions.
The remarks by AyatollahAli Khamenei echoed previous hard-line positions by Iran but take on added resonance amid talks with the U.S. and five other world powers. Western leaders hope for a diplomatic accord that would ease concerns about Iran‘s nuclear ambitions, while Israeli officials say they leave all options open to try to derail Iran‘s uranium enrichment.
The West fears Iran one day could produce weapons-grade material. Ayatollah Khamenei called the claims of a secret weapons program “lies” and repeated Iran‘s statements that it only seeks reactors for energy and medical research.
“Should they take any wrong step, any inappropriate move, it will fall on their heads like lightning,” he warned in a speech marking the 23rd anniversary of the death of his predecessor, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Many military analysts say airstrikes alone are unlikely to seriously set back Iran‘s uranium enrichment and could touch off a wider conflict in the Gulf, which is the route for about one fifth of the world’s oil.
Instead, the U.S. and Europe have imposed tighter sanctions targeting Iran‘s oil exports and its ability to conduct international banking.
“The obstacles enemies are creating in our path won’t have any effect. Sanctions are ineffective. Sanctions can’t stop the Iranian nation from moving forward,” Ayatollah Khamenei said at Khomeini’s mausoleum south of Tehran.
“The only effect these unilateral and multilateral sanctions have on the Iranian nation is that they deepen hatred and animosity toward the West in the heart of our people,” he said.
Iran has called for the West to roll back the sanctions as a goodwill gesture to move ahead the nuclear talks, which are scheduled to resume later this month in Moscow.
In Baghdad last month, the six world powers — the U.N. Security Council permanent members plus Germany — demanded that Iran stop its most sensitive uranium enrichment in return for incentives such as civilian plane spare parts. Iran‘s 20 percent-level enrichment — the highest publicly acknowledged — worries Western leaders because it is far closer to weapons grade than the 3.5 percent enriched material needed for energy-producing reactors.
Iran uses the 20 percent for its medical research reactor for applications such as cancer treatment.
Iran has called for an overhaul of the latest proposals, saying it may consider suspending 20 percent enrichment only if the West commits to lift recently toughened sanctions.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on world powers last week to push Tehran to stop all nuclear enrichment, remove from its territory all material that has been enriched so far, and demolish the underground Fordo enrichment facility near the city of Qom, about 80 miles south of Tehran.
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Feds approve powdered alcohol; 'Palcohol' available later this year
- NYT's David Brooks: Obama has 'manhood problem' in Middle East
- Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz: Vulnerable Democrats must 'run their own race'
- WILLIAMS: Bill Maher, comedian or bigot?
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Supreme Court weighs appeal to concealed-carry gun laws
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.