April 3, 2010
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned against a reported Israeli plan to launch a second military offensive against Palestinians in Gaza.
Israeli deputy prime minister Silvan Shalom said Friday that a military operation will soon be launched in response to rocket attacks from Gaza, which involve home-made rockets that usually carry little or no explosive warhead.
On Thursday, a single Qassam rocket landed near the Israeli town of Ashkelon on Thursday and caused some minor damages but no casualties.
Although the Palestinian Resistance movement of Hamas did not claim responsibility for the attack, Israel nevertheless responded to the incident by carrying out six waves of air raids overnight.
“If this rocket fire against Israel does not stop … it will force us to launch another military operation,” Shalom told public radio.
Hamas has emphasized that it is looking to calm the situation. In an April 1 phone conversation with the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the Chairman of Hamas Political Bureau Khaled Mashaal said: “Hamas is not interested in the escalation of tensions and is taking corresponding measures to prevent missile strikes from the Gaza,” reported ITAR-Tass News Agency.
President Ahmadinejad, in a formal speech at the inauguration of the Middle East’s biggest iron ore pellet factory in the southern city of Sirjan, warned Israel against making plans for a new offensive against Gazans, who are still reeling from the devastating attack by Tel Aviv two years ago.
They are looking for an excuse to attack Gaza. What I want to say to Zionists and their supporters is ‘enough with the crimes. Do not make your load [of sin] even heavier than it is’.
The president said “the myth of an undefeatable Israel was over,” adding that Tel Aviv was only trying to maintain its image of a dreaded power to sustain its existence.
“They had created the illusion in everyone’s mind that they (the Zionists) can not be defeated. But that myth was shattered after the regime suffered two defeats, once in southern Lebanon and later on in Gaza,” he explained.
“Now, they are trying to make up [for those defeats], as they know that they will reach the end if they lose the awe attributed to them and if regional nations no longer fear them.”
Ahmadinejad condemned Israel’s continued crimes in Palestine and Lebanon, stressing that the Tel Aviv regime is the sole obstacle to the establishment of peace and security in the region.
Referring to Israel’s use of foreign passports to assassinate senior Hamas military commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, Ahmadinejad said Israel has “clearly been given carte blanche by Western powers “to commit whatever crime it pleases and violate whatever law it deems necessary.”
On a different note, Ahmadinejad said the rising tide of terrorism in the Middle East is a direct result of US military presence in the region over the past decade.
“The ever-increasing presence of US coalition forces in region has contributed to the growing rate of terrorism and violence,” he noted.
The Iranian President said he found the US campaign to isolate Tehran in the region and in the world “most amusing” because he seriously believes that Washington, due to decades of hegemony and political missteps, has grown to become one of the most isolated countries to date.
“We think that those are isolated that cannot talk to nations directly, those who are afraid of nations.”
President Ahmadinejad said it was the US not Iran which was isolated, reasoning that American officials only paid unannounced visits to the regional countries.
“They want to visit their military base in a country where they have deployed 160,000 military troops and they go there without announcing in advance. Who is isolated?”
He dismissed US accusations regarding an “Iranian intention to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels,” adding such claims are highly ironic coming from countries which possess and continue to develop vast nuclear arsenals that have been tested and even used in military confrontations.
Under international law, Ahmadinejad said, Western countries are obliged to provide Iran — without out preconditions — with the specified amount of fuel it requires for the Tehran research reactor, which plays the vital role of producing medical isotopes.
Due to their refusal, Ahmadinejad continued, Iran reserves the right to domestically-enrich uranium up to 20 percent in order to meet the demands of thousands of Iranian patients, who desperately need post-surgery drug treatment with nuclear medicine.
With regards to US efforts to rally worldwide support for gasoline embargoes against Iran, Ahmadinejad said such a move would fail to bring Washington’s desired results because the country will soon reach the refining capacity to produce its own gasoline.
Iran is the world’s fourth-largest oil exporter but, according to US estimates, the country relies on gasoline imports to meet 40 percent of its domestic demand.