The Taliban routinely amputate hands off their “enemies” This took place in Kabul.
Iran to “cut hands” off any attacker, president says
TEHRAN: Iran’s president said that even before its enemies “get their hands on the trigger” the country’s military would cut them off, media said on Sunday, in a growing war of words that has intensified Middle East tension.
But President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also suggested Iran would consider any proposal by the United States for a U.S. interests section in the Islamic Republic, if it was forthcoming. The two countries have not had diplomatic ties since 1980.
Amid the mounting tensions over Iran’s nuclear plans, U.S. media have reported that the State Department was considering opening an interests section that could mean some U.S. diplomats returning to Tehran but operating under another country’s flag.
U.S. officials have said there are no concrete plans on such an idea. But Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said this month at the United Nations in New York that any such proposal, if made, could be examined.
“Iran favours actions that would result in enhanced ties between nations of the world,” Ahmadinejad said when asked about the issue, according to the website of state-run Press TV.
“We are ready to consider all proposals in this regard.”
The Swiss embassy currently handles U.S. interests in Iran but there are no U.S. diplomats working there.
But Ahmadinejad also echoed comments by other Iranian officials and commanders that Iran’s response to any attack over its disputed nuclear programme would be quick.
“Before the enemies get their hands on the trigger the armed forces will cut off their hands,” the official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as telling reporters.
The United States has refused to rule out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the nuclear row. Washington says Tehran is seeking nuclear arms, a charge Iran denies, saying its aim is to generate electricity.
Israel, long assumed to have nuclear arms, has sworn to prevent Iran from attaining atomic weapons. An Israeli air force drill last month raised speculation it was planning an attack.
After Iran test-fired missiles last week, the president added: “In the event of necessity, additional parts of our defence capability will be put on display for the world to see.”
As part of a new diplomatic effort to end the row, the United States and five other powers last month offered Iran economic and other benefits if it halts its most sensitive atomic activities, something Tehran says it will not do.
Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili is expected to meet European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana in Geneva on July 19 for talks on the long-running dispute.
“The negotiations … must lead to the defining of the framework of the main negotiations,” Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said, according to the state broadcaster.
Ahmadinejad, who has previously called for a public debate with the U.S. president, expressed willingness to hold direct talks with George W. Bush.
The United States says Iran must suspend uranium enrichment, which can have both civilian and military uses, before they can sit down and talk about nuclear and other issues.
“As I have already said, we have absolutely no need for an intermediary in negotiations with others … I am ready to hold direct negotiations with Mr Bush,” Ahmadinejad said.
However, he added, “if anyone should want to set conditions (for entering talks) it would be us”.
(Reporting Hashem Kalantari; Writing by Edmund Blair and Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Dominic Evans)