June 11 (Bloomberg) — George W. Bush’s administration is in its dying days and won’t be able to harm Iran, the Islamic Republic’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said.
“It’s Bush’s dream to harm Iran’s nation,” Ahmadinejad said today during a televised speech in the western Iranian city of Shahre Kord. ``You thought you would be able to do something but your term came to an end and you will not be capable of harming even 1 centimeter of Iran’s sacred land.”
The U.S. has led the push for international sanctions to punish Iran for flouting United Nations demands for a halt to its nuclear program. The U.S. has accused Iran of seeking to build an atomic weapon, while Ahmadinejad’s government says the work is designed to fuel power stations.
( Didn’t Bush say the same right before invading Iraq? – The Infinite Unknown)
“All options are on the table, and my first choice is to solve this diplomatically,” Bush said today at a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel following talks at Schloss Meseberg, a government guesthouse about 70 kilometers (44 miles) north of Berlin. “If they choose to continue to be obstinate, there will be additional sanctions.”
Deterring Iran’s nuclear ambitions is the focus of Bush’s weeklong farewell trip to Europe. He travels to Rome later today and will also make stops in Paris and London.
`Will Not Retreat’
Iran won’t stop its nuclear work, Ahmadinejad stressed.
``You think that you can force the Iranian nation to back down from its legitimate rights through threats and pressures,” Iran’s state-run Islamic Republic News Agency cited Ahmadinejad as saying today in another speech, in the western town of Sefid Dasht. He added, “The Iranian nation will not retreat even 1 inch.”
Bush, who has seven months remaining in office, won backing yesterday from the European Union for tighter sanctions against Iranian banks, another step aimed at hampering Iran’s ability to build nuclear weapons. European Commission President Jose Barroso, meeting with Bush in Slovenia, agreed to take “additional measures” to ensure that Iranian banks cannot abuse the international banking system to support “proliferation and terrorism.”
Iran with a nuclear weapon “would be incredibly dangerous for world peace,” Bush said yesterday following the Slovenia talks. “They can either face isolation or they can have a better relationship with all of us.”
EU and U.S. leaders talked about freezing Iranian bank assets, though the measures must be agreed on by foreign ministers of the 27-nation bloc, according to EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, who was at the Slovenia meeting.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana will visit Tehran at the weekend to present the government there with a new package of incentives to persuade it to halt uranium enrichment. The trip will be the latest step in three years of negotiations with Iran, adding momentum to Western efforts to prevent the Islamic cleric- run regime from building nuclear weapons.
Earlier this week, Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar warned there would be a “painful response” to any attack on his country by Israel, the Associated Press reported, citing the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.
Najjar was responding to comments by Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, who said in an interview published by the Yediot Ahronot newspaper that Israel will have to attack if Iran continues with its nuclear-development program.
The comments by Mofaz, a possible contender for the post of prime minister, were denounced as “foolish” by Najjar.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Tehran at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Last Updated: June 11, 2008 10:11 EDT
By Ladane Nasseri