TEHRAN, Iran, (AP) – Iran dismissed the possibility of a U.S. military strike against the country Monday and said Tehran was ready to consider a new round of talks with Washington on security in Iraq.
Concerns have been mounting in recent months that the United States might attack to prevent Iran from developing atomic bombs. The U.S. has said it is trying to resolve its disputes with Iran diplomatically but also says it has not ruled out any options.
“The region is not ready to tolerate a new crisis and the United States is not able to plan it, too,” Mohammad Ali Hosseini, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, told reporters during his weekly press briefing.
“However, the Islamic Republic of Iran will consider any weak possibility (of an attack),” he added.
Hosseini said Iran would consider a new round of talks with the U.S. over security in Iraq if requested by both countries.
“If we find the Iraqi government insistent and we receive the U.S. official request, we will consider the talks in order to lessen difficulties of the Iraqi nation and government,” said Hosseini.
The U.S. and Iran have held three rounds of ambassador-level talks since May on security in Iraq, but relations between the two countries remain incredibly tense. The U.S. accuses Iran of supporting Shiite militias in Iraq and covertly developing nuclear weapons — charges Tehran denies.
Washington recently passed a new round of unilateral sanctions against Iran over the country’s nuclear program and is pushing for a third set of U.N. Security Council sanctions as well.
Iran has dismissed the sanctions and refuses to agree to international demands that it suspend uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for a nuclear reactor or fissile material for a bomb.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki both attended a recent conference in Turkey to discuss Iraq, but did not have a face-to-face meeting.
Washington and Tehran cut diplomatic ties after militant Iranian students took over the U.S. Embassy in the country in 1979, holding 52 Americans hostage for 444 days.