now it's been denied by iran as well as by the pentagon
Tuesday, 18 January, 2005, 14:36 GMT
Iran rejects US operations claims
Iran has dismissed a report in the US media that US
commandos are conducting missions on Iranian territory
to identify targets for possible strikes.
Supreme National Security Council spokesman Ali
Aghamohammadi said it would be naive to believe the
report, which he called psychological warfare.
Earlier, Iranian Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani said
Iran had the military strength to deter attacks.
US President George W Bush says he does not rule out
force against Iran.
Washington has called on Tehran to reveal more about
its nuclear plan, accusing it of developing nuclear
Iran insists it only wants to produce electricity.
The claims on US operations on Iranian territory were
made by respected investigative journalist Seymour
Hersh and published in the New Yorker magazine.
The Pentagon has described the report as based on
rumour, innuendo and conspiracy theories, but has not
categorically denied that US troops have been on the
ground in Iran.
In the first official Iranian reaction to Mr Hersh's
article, Mr Aghamohammadi told Iranian radio it was
naive to imagine American spies could carry out secret
reconnaissance missions inside Iran.
He said it was not easy for US commandos to enter the
His views were echoed by the Teheran Times which
dismissed the story as a "ridiculous bluff".
It said the US and Israel knew that attacking Iran
would be biting off more than they could chew, and
would only choke them if they tried it.
The paper warned that Iran had acquired massive
military might and was prepared to attack any intruder
with a fearsome reign of fire and death.
Defence Minister Ali Shamkhani said Iran did not fear
attack, in comments that were published on Tuesday but
may not be a direct response to Hersh's article.
"We can claim that we have rapidly produced equipment
that has resulted in the greatest deterrent," he said,
without giving further details.