TEHRAN (Reuters) -Iran on Sunday brushed aside what it called a U.S. “psychological war” against its nuclear programme after a published report described Pentagon planning for possible military strikes against Iranian atomic facilities.
A report by influential investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker magazine, citing unnamed current and former officials, said Washington has stepped up plans for possible attacks on Iranian facilities to curb its atomic work.
The article said the United States was considering using tactical nuclear weapons to destroy Iran’s underground uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz, south of Tehran.
“This is a psychological war launched by Americans because they feel angry and desperate regarding Iran’s nuclear dossier,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a weekly news conference.
“We will stand by our right to nuclear technology. It is our red line. We are ready to deal with any possible scenario. Iran is not afraid of threatening language,” he added.
The United Nations has called on Iran to halt uranium enrichment, which the West believes Iran is pursuing to acquire technology to make a nuclear bomb. Iran has rejected the demand and insists it only wants to make fuel for civilian uses.
Iran’s decision in January to resume enrichment prompted Britain, France and Germany to break off 2-1/2 years of EU talks with Tehran and back a U.S. demand to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council, which can impose sanctions.
Asefi said Iran was ready to continue its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and said IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei would visit Iran by Friday to discuss Iran’s cooperation with the IAEA.
“We have always had good cooperation with the IAEA and we will continue to do so,” he said.
ElBaradei is expected to provide a report to the Council on Iran’s nuclear programme entitled “the process of Iranian compliance” at the end of this month.
ElBaradei has said he has found no proof of a weapons programme in Iran but at the same time has said he cannot give the Islamic Republic a clean bill of health.
An IAEA official has said earlier that ElBaradei would travel to Iran on Tuesday or Wednesday for a day of meetings in Tehran to try to win more cooperation from Tehran.