REPORTING FROM TEHRAN AND BEIRUT -- Iran maintained its defiant posture Tuesday amid rumors of a possible Western or Israeli attack and the anticipated release of a United Nations watchdog report indicating that the Islamic Republic is pursuing an atomic weapons program.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran would make Washington regret any strike against the nation, reported the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency.
The president lashed out at the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is expected to unveil a study Wednesday pointing toward Iran’s development of nuclear weapons technology. Ahmadinejad said the agency’s director general, former Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano, “lacks any authority.” Iranian officials insist their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
On another front, Iran’s defense minister, Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, assailed a “media smear campaign” against Iran. U.S.-sponsored “Iranophobia” was driving the effort, he told the official Islamic Republic News Agency.
“The U.S. faces fundamental crises, such as Occupy Wall Street," Vahidi was quoted as telling IRNA. “But the West’s threats lack any value for us and we are ready to confront any ignorance by the enemy.”
-- Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and Patrick J. McDonnell
Photo: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in Tehran on Nov. 1, walks past a banner with a quotation from former leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini that says the "U.S. cannot do anything." Credit: Vahid Salemi / Associated Press