Iranian leaders reacted angrily and swiftly to the new U.N. report on its controversial nuclear program. They denied all suggestions that it had secret activities. And they warned that any military action against the Islamic Republic would be countered with full force. The following are comments from a cross-section of officials as well as from Hezbollah’s leader, which is Iran’s key ally in Lebanon on the border with Israel.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Nov. 10
"If the thought of invasion against the Islamic Republic of Iran crosses anybody's mind he must ready himself to receive a strong slap and iron fist…The enemies, especially the United States and its puppets and the Zionist regime, should know that the Iranian nation will not invade any country or nation,but it will respond to any invasion or threat with full force in a way that it will break up invaders from within.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Nov. 9
"This nation won't retreat one iota from the path it is going…Why are you ruining the prestige of the (U.N. nuclear) agency for absurd U.S. claims?...The Iranian nation is wise. It won't build two bombs against 20,000 (nuclear) bombs you have…But it builds something you can't respond to: Ethics, decency, monotheism and justice."
Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iranian envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency on Nov. 8
"The report of the International Atomic Energy Agency is unbalanced, unprofessional and politically motivated…"Despite Iran's readiness for negotiations, the IAEA published the report ... which will harm its reputation."
Iranian member of parliament Parviz Sorouri on Nov. 9
"The report was drawn up by Americans and read by [IAEA chief] Amano."
Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Nov. 11
"The United States needs to put up a smoke screen ... and has launched a campaign of intimidation that talks about attacks against Iran and Syria so as to deflect attention from its searing defeat in Iraq…Whoever dares to launch war against Iran will be met with doubly that force," he warned. "Iran is strong; Iran is powerful and has a leader unique to the whole world."
"I'm not threatening, but anyone with sense can see that an Israeli-U.S. strike on Iran, or military involvement in Syria, will lead to a regional war."
Annika Folkeson works for the Center for Conflict Management at the U. S. Institute of Peace.