AFP: Influential former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Thursday warned Iran to be alert in the face of “unprecedented” actions by its arch-foe the United States. TEHRAN (AFP) Influential former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Thursday warned Iran to be alert in the face of “unprecedented” actions by its arch-foe the United States.
Washington has never ruled out taking military action against Iran over its nuclear programme although the White House insists it wants to calm the crisis through diplomacy.
“Since the (1979 Islamic) revolution, the enemies have plotted a lot but the current situation is unprecedented. Therefore everybody must be alert,” the powerful cleric said, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.
“The movements and the presence of US forces and their supporters in the region is unprecedented, as is the creation of a menacing climate of fear,” he told army commanders in a speech.
Rafsanjani’s cautious tone contrasts with the rhetoric of his political rival President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has brushed off the idea of an American attack on Iran, saying US forces are too bogged down in Iraq.
Ahmadinejad famously said in September that his mathematical skills as an engineer and faith in God made him sure that US forces would not launch an attack.
After suffering a humiliating defeat to Ahmadinejad in the 2005 presidential election, Rafsanjani has staged a political comeback in the last year, winning the chairmanship of powerful clerical body the Assembly of Experts.
The Assembly of Experts is the body charged with supervising and choosing Iran’s all-powerful supreme leader. Rafsanjani also heads the main political arbitration body the Expediency Council.
The White House has recently ramped up its rhetoric against Iran, warning the world about “nuclear holocaust” and “World War III” if Tehran obtained atomic weapons. But Iran insists its nuclear drive is peaceful.