US military threat ‘old habit that dies hard’: Iran
Iran’s foreign minister dismissed Saturday the threat of a U. S. military strike against Tehran’s nuclear sites, describing such warnings as an “old habit that dies hard” given ongoing diplomacy.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, who leads the Iranian side in talks with six world powers that aim to end the dispute over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program, said threats of conflict should be off the table.
He was responding to General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, who Thursday said “the military option ... to ensure that Iran does not achieve a nuclear weapon is intact.”
The United States has long said targeted bombing of Iran’s nuclear sites and other key facilities may be needed if Tehran — which denies seeking the bomb — does not rein in its atomic activities.
But Zarif hit back at Dempsey, highlighting that his claim was old and discounting its validity given the talks aim to end the nuclear impasse and culminate in a final deal by the end of June.
“The military option is nonexistent and doesn’t work against Iran, and it’s better to stop making those statements,” Zarif said at a joint news conference with his Australian counterpart Julie Bishop.
“We don’t pay attention to them because we know that there is none,” Zarif said, again referring to the option of a mili- tary attack on Iran.
“The fact we are negotiating indicates that everybody understands the only way to deal with Iran is to recognize Iran’s rights and have mutual respect.
“That will provide a far better answer than getting engaged in disastrous adventurism,” he added.
Dempsey’s comments came after Russian President Vladimir Pu- tin lifted a ban on supplying S-300 missile systems to Iran. The U.S. general said the move would not affect America’s ability to conduct a military strike.
Russia’s decision was condemned by Israel, the most vehement opponent of the talks between Iran and the five permanent members of the U. N. Security Council plus Germany.