Posts Tagged ‘Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’

AFP: The UN atomic watchdog chief warned on Saturday that an attack on Iran over its controversial nuclear programme would turn the region into a fireball, as Tehran rejected an Israeli strike as “impossible.”Mohamed ElBaradei also warned that he would not be able to continue in his role as International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general should the Islamic republic be attacked.

His stark comments came as Iran stressed yet again that it will not negotiate with world powers over its nuclear programme if it is required to suspend its controversial uranium enrichment.

“A military strike (against Iran) would in my opinion be worse than anything else … It would transform the Middle East region into a ball of fire,” ElBaradei said in an interview with Al-Arabiya television.

New York Times: Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Several American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military’s capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran’s nuclear program.

More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the maneuvers, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece during the first week of June, American officials said.

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New York Times: A rival to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected by an overwhelming majority as speaker of the Iranian Parliament on Wednesday, a strong signal of growing impatience with the president’s economic policies and a possible sign of a political shift in the country.

The new speaker, Ali Larijani, who resigned as the country’s nuclear negotiator in October over differences with Mr. Ahmadinejad, is a conservative and an ardent advocate of Iran’s nuclear program, but is seen as more pragmatic in his approach and perhaps willing to engage in diplomacy with the West.

The post of speaker is normally a powerful one in Iranian politics, and Mr. Larijani’s elevation also suggests that the new Parliament will be much more likely than the last one to challenge Mr. Ahmadinejad, who is up for re-election in June 2009.