Iran’s supreme leader warns nations against making threats


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REPORTING FROM TEHRAN AND BEIRUT — Iran’s supreme leader warned Thursday that “steel fists” await any nation that threatens the Islamic Republic.

“Iran is not a nation to sit still and just observe threats from fragile materialist powers that are being eaten by worms from inside,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told students at a Tehran military college, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported.


Attackers should prepare for “strong blows and the steel fists” of the military, the Revolutionary Guard and the Basij militia, “backed by the entire Iranian nation,” Khamenei warned.

“Iran will respond with full force to any aggression or even threats in a way that will demolish the aggressors from within,” Khamenei declared.

The message, Khamenei said, was aimed at the United States “and its stooges as well as its police dog in the region, the Zionist regime.” The comments reflect the heightened tension and rhetorical war of words surrounding Iran’s disputed nuclear program.

A United Nations watchdog this week reported finding evidence that Iran is pursuing construction of atomic weapons. Tehran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful uses.

Washington and Tel Aviv have not ruled out a military strike to neutralize Iran’s nuclear efforts.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed that Iran would not budge “one iota” from its nuclear activities.



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-- Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and Patrick J.McDonnell in Beirut