February 23, 2005

Iran to Bush: Don't Meddle wit our Independence

From yahoo news

TEHRAN (Reuters) - President Bush (
news - web sites) should be aware that the United States would pay a heavier price than Iran if it tried to encroach on the Islamic state's independence, President Mohammad Khatami (news - web sites) said Wednesday.

"America does not like an independent Iran, the question is how far they can (take away Iran's independence), and ... what price they would have to pay to achieve that end," he told a news conference after a weekly cabinet meeting.

Tehran and Washington, enemies since the 1979 Islamic revolution, have been engaged in a fierce war of words in recent weeks.

Bush has accused Iran's clerical leaders of sponsoring terrorism, trampling on human rights and secretly building nuclear arms, although he stressed during a visit to Germany on Wednesday that diplomatic efforts to resolve the differences were only just beginning.

Iran dismisses the U.S. charges as propaganda and accuses the United States of conducting arrogant and destructive policies in the Middle East in support of its ally, Israel.

"I believe that if he (Bush) has any sense he should know they can't (overturn Iran's independence), and if they can, the price they will pay is far heavier than we would," Khatami said.

Iranian officials consider regaining independence in foreign and domestic affairs as one of the most notable successes of the revolution which toppled the U.S.-backed shah.

Speaking in Brussels Tuesday, Bush said the idea he was preparing to bomb Iran was "ridiculous" but did not rule out the possibility of using military action in future.

"The difference in his comments this time was that he denied the military option with stress, although he said all options are on the table," Khatami said.

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