Iran Prez warns of attacks on his country

Cairo: As tensions mounted in the Persian Gulf over accusations that Iran is close to making nuclear weapons, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad today warned of any attacks against his country. Alleging that US and Israel were mustering international backing for a military strike on Iran, Ahmedinejad claimed that Tehran had capabilities to deal such threats.

Iranian President`s remarks came in an interview with Egypt`s state-owned al-Akhbar newspaper and assumed significance in the wake of American media reports quoting UN experts that Tehran is on the threshold of making a nuclear bomb and had mastered the critical steps needed to build a weapon after receiving assistance from a foreign scientist.

"It is Israel that has about 300 nuclear warheads. Iran is only keen to have nuclear capability for peaceful means," he said, accusing Washington of lumping Iran with Syria, the Islamist Hamas movement that rules Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The US portrays those four as "the Axis of Evil to save the Zionist entity. But the Zionists are bound to go out of existence," he said. Ahmadinejad also talked of Iran`s growing military power, which has fueled fear from the US that Iran is now able to compete with Israel and the West, he said. "Yes, we have military capabilities that are different from any other country in the region," al-Akhbar cited Ahmadinejad as saying.

"Iran is increasing in capability and advancement and therefore we are able to compete with Israel and the West and especially the United States."

"The US fears Iran`s capability," he told the paper. "Iran will not permit anyone making a move against it."