US plans to foment strife in Iran: Rezai

Date: 01-21-07

DUBAI (AFP) - The United States wants to incite a popular uprising in Iran, a senior Iranian official has been quoted as saying, adding that a confrontation between Washington and Tehran is "inevitable."

US President George W. Bush "pursues a strategy hostile to Iran... The coming two months will show the world this strategy," Mohsen Rezai, secretary of Iran's Expediency Council, told the Dubai-based Al-Bayan newspaper Sunday.

"America will exploit (sanctions) against Iran to incite people to rise up against the (Islamic) revolution, provide aid to movements hostile to Iran, carry out operations inside Iran and promote a sectarian war," said Rezai, a former Revolutionary Guards commander.

"An Iranian-US confrontation is inevitable," he said, adding that he would not rule out US missile strikes against Iran's nuclear installations.

Ali Larijani, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, said in remarks reported Saturday that Iranian armed forces were ready to face any threat to its nuclear installations, amid speculation Washington may be planning a military strike.

The United States and Israel have not ruled out military action to thwart Iran's nuclear program, which they suspect is aimed at developing a nuclear arsenal that would radically change the balance of power in the Middle East.

Iran insists its nuclear ambitions are peaceful, but it was hit with UN sanctions in December after it refused to bow to UN Security Council demands earlier in 2006 to suspend its uranium enrichment work.

The Expediency Council is an unelected constitutional body that resolves legislative disputes. It also doubles as an advisory body to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.


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