Top Iran Leaders Recommend Preemptive Strike Against Israel

October 23, 2008 at 4:47 am Leave a comment

Senior Tehran officials are recommending a preemptive
strike against Israel to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear
reactors, a senior Islamic Republic official told foreign diplomats two
weeks ago in London.


The official, Dr. Seyed G. Safavi, said recent
threats by Israeli authorities strengthened this position, but that as
of yet, a preemptive strike has not been integrated into Iranian
policy.

Safavi is head of the Research Institute of Strategic Studies in
Tehran, and an adviser to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The institute is
directly affiliated with Khamenei’s office and with the Revolutionary
Guards, and advises both on foreign policy issues.

Safavi is also the brother of Yahya Rahim Safavi, who
was the head of the Revolutionary Guards until a year ago and now is an
adviser to Khamenei, and holds significant influence on security
matters in the Iranian government.

An Israeli political official said senior Jerusalem officials were
shown Safavi’s remarks, which are considered highly sensitive. The
source said the briefing in London dealt with a number of issues,
primarily a potential Israeli attack on an Iranian reactor.

Safavi said a small, experienced group of officials is lobbying for
a preemptive strike against Israel. “The recent Israeli declarations
and harsh rhetoric on a strike against Iran put ammunition in these
individuals’ hands,” he said.

Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said in June that Israel would
be forced to strike the Iranian nuclear reactor if Tehran continues to
pursue its uranium enrichment program.

Safavi said Tehran recently drafted a new policy for responding to
an Israeli or American attack on its nuclear facilities. While the
previous policy called for attacks against Israel and American
interests in the Middle East and beyond, the new policy is to target
Israel alone.

He added that many Revolutionary Guard leaders want to respond to a
U.S. attack on Iranian soil by striking Israel, as they believe Israel
would be partner to any U.S. action.

Safavi said that Iran’s nuclear program is intended for peaceful
purposes only, and that Khamenei recently released a fatwa against the
use of weapons of mass destruction, though the contents of that
religious ruling have not yet been publicized.

Regarding dialogue with the United States and the West, Safavi said
Iran’s decision would be influenced by the results of the U.S.
presidential elections next month, as well as by the Iranian
presidential elections in June and the economic situation in the
Islamic Republic.

Safavi also said that a victory by U.S. Democratic presidential
candidate Barack Obama would pave the way for dialogue with Washington,
while a John McCain presidency would bolster Iran’s extreme right,
which opposes dialogue. If conditions are favorable following the U.S.
election, he said, Iran could draw back from President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad’s declaration that “the nuclear case is closed,” and put it
back on the agenda.

Safavi said he believed that U.S. sanctions on Iran have run their
course, and that there would be no point in strengthening them. Tehran
would therefore demand “firm and significant” U.S. measures in return
for stopping uranium enrichment. He also said Ahmadinejad is not
guaranteed victory in the June 2009 elections, particularly given the
dire economic situation in Iran. Still, Iranian experts believe his
only real competition is former president Mohammad Khatami, who has not
yet joined the race.

Safavi said the inflation rate in Iran is similar to that before
the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but that unrest among civilians today is
not as strong. This is because the current government uses oil revenues
to help the poor, he said.

Source: Haaretz.com

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