Malaysia says United States will stand alone if it attacks Iran
* Iran vows ‘astonishing’ response to any US or Israeli attack
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia, which chairs the world’s biggest grouping of Muslim countries, has warned that the United States will stand alone in the world if it attacks Iran.
The world community, including allies of the United States, is opposed to any such action by the superpower, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said on his return from a trip to Paris late Tuesday. “Europe does not agree, the United States’ close ally Britain does not agree, and I believe no one else will agree,” said Abdullah, who chairs the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference.
“The Islamic world will definitely not agree to an attack on Iran,” he told reporters. “Talks should instead be held and made a priority, rather than military action.”
US President George W Bush - who once lumped Iran in an “axis of evil” with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and North Korea - said last week he could not rule out using force if Tehran failed to rein in its nuclear plans. Iran, which denies wishing to acquire a nuclear bomb, in November announced the suspension of its nuclear enrichment programme following protracted talks with Britain, France and Germany.
In mid-December, the three countries again took up talks with Tehran to try to conclude a long-term deal whereby the Iranians would definitively give up any ambitions of producing a nuclear weapon.
Iran vows response: Iran will carry out an “astonishing” retaliation to any attack against the Islamic republic by Israel or the United States, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned in comments published Wednesday.
The Islamic republic also responded to Israeli allegations that it was closer to developing a nuclear weapon, saying the latest accusations were designed to shift attention away from Israel’s own weapons and its “terror” against Palestinians. “We will counter any stupid action by Israel and its master with firmness and in an astonishing way,” Brigadier-General Mohammad-Ali Jafari was quoted as saying by the Shargh newspaper.
Jafari, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ ground forces, said Iran now had to capacity to defeat any invader in the space of just weeks.
“We pushed the Baathist enemy from our country within one and a half years,” he said, referring to the opening campaigns of the 1980-88 war with Iraq.
“With the experience and skills from that war and in the case of any invasion, the invaders will be defeated in less than one and a half months,” Jafari said.
In separate comments carried by the student news agency ISNA, the chief of the Revolutionary Guards said he did not believe Israel or the United States had the courage to attack but asserted that his forces were nonetheless at the ready. “Even though the US and Israel do not have the courage to invade the Iranian nation, the Revolutionary Guards are in very good state of readiness to response to threats,” General Yahya Rahim Safavi said. “The US can not bring security to the Middle East by pushing Iran aside. And if they plan conspiracies, the Iranian nation and its leadership will stand against expansionism with firmness,” he said. afp