Iran: US Navy Deployment in Lebanese Water “Provocative”

A02789046.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini described deployment of a US warship in Lebanese water as “a fully suspicious and provocative measure”.

Hosseini made the remarks during his weekly press conference here on Sunday.

Also during the conference, Hosseini noted the today visit to Iraq by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and said that the trip is aimed at reinvigorating ties with Baghdad and serves as a component of Iran’s policy for regional convergence.

Asked about the next round of talks with the US on Iraq security, he said that the two sides have not yet decided any specific date to attend a fourth meeting.

Iran and the United States held three rounds of talks about security in Iraq in 2007. A fourth meeting scheduled for mid-February was postponed at Iran’s request.

In response to questions about the fate of three Iranian mission staffers still in US custody after they were kidnapped during a raid by the US troops on Iran’s consulate general in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil over a year ago, the spokesman said, “Americans pledged to release these three, but they didn’t.”

“These individuals are in contact with their families through phone while the Red Cross has recently been demanded to arrange a meeting between these consulate missioners and their families,” he added.

Asked about Iran’s likely reaction to a third sanctions resolution by the UN Security Council and if Tehran would resort to oil to lever the West in case of fresh sanctions, the diplomat said, “If a resolution is issued, we will adopt and announce our appropriate and definite decision on the basis of its nature and clauses.”

Also regarding alleged studies into the possible weaponization of nuclear materials mentioned in ElBaradei’s recent report on Iran, Hosseini said, “Proving claims is a responsibility of the claimant and not the one who has been accused.”

On the eve of a final report by the IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei on Iran, the US alleged that it had some intelligence data showing that Iran has been conducting nuclear weaponization studies.

While experts of the UN nuclear watchdog, US allies including Germany and even US intelligent bodies have cast deep doubt over the reliability and validity of the said intelligence data, ElBaradei himself said in his latest report on Iran’s nuclear program to the agency’s 35-member policy-making governing board, “We have made quite good progress in clarifying the outstanding issues that had to do with Iran’s past nuclear activities, with the exception of one issue, and that is the alleged weaponization studies that supposedly Iran has conducted in the past …

“I should however add that in connection with the weaponization studies, we have not seen any indication that these studies were linked to nuclear material.”

Hosseini also expressed hope that the decisions and reports to be announced by the IAEA Board of Governors would accord with the existing realities of Iran’s nuclear activities.

The spokesman further dismissed West’s repeated calls on Iran to halt uranium enrichment activities, and described suspension of enrichment as “illogical” and “illegal”.

Meantime, Hosseini underlined that the Islamic Republic would continue cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) within the borders of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and safeguard agreements.

Elsewhere, the spokesman blamed Western governments and international organizations for the ongoing savage crimes perpetrated by the Israeli regime against civilians and infants living in Gaza Strip.

Hosseini said that the new wave of Israel’s air strikes against residential areas in Gaza have resulted from “meaningful indifference of some international bodies as well as Western powers’ biased policy” and their permanent support for Tel Aviv’s war crimes.

Israel has started a new wave of atrocities against the defenseless Palestinian citizens since February 27. Tel Aviv regime’s heavy air strikes against residential areas in Gaza Strip has so far left about 60 dead and wounded many more civilians until Saturday. Israel renewed air raids on Gaza Strip on Sunday morning too.

Palestinian leaders have called for international protection, while Tehran has called on the International Criminal Court to bring to justice Israeli leaders for committing war crimes against Palestinians infants and women.

Expressing condolences of Iranian people and government to the bereaved families of the victims of recent attacks, Hosseini said, “We are witnessing massive genocide in Palestinian lands these days.

“Women and children included most of the victims.”

Hosseini stressed, “Freedom-loving people of the world expect regional and international organizations as well as regional countries to stop the Zionist regime’s crimes against humanity by taking proper and effective measures and making due decisions in this connection.”

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