FW: Rafsanjani says Mideast nuclear conflict possible
- Rafsanjani says Mideast nuclear conflict possible
Â©2001 IranMania & AFP
Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani
warned of nuclear conflict in the Middle East.
TEHRAN, Dec 14 (AFP) - Former president Ali Akbar
Hashemi Rafsanjani raised the spectre Friday of
possible nuclear conflict in the Middle East.
Rafsanjani, speaking at the weekly Muslim prayers
in Tehran, said that because Israel does not have
enough soldiers to defend itself, Western powers
had "provided her with unconventional arms of mass
destruction, chemical and nuclear."
"The use of an atomic bomb against Israel would
totally destroy Israel, while (the same) against
the Islamic world would only cause damage. Such a
scenario is not inconceivable," he said.
Rafsanjani, who heads Iran's powerful Expediency
Council, said that "if the Islamic world armed
itself with the same arms, then that equilibrium
would be broken".
But "we do not want the world to fall victim to
insecurity, and we do not want the confrontation
... to turn into World War Three. That is the
worst that could happen."
He was speaking at Tehran University, where tens
of thousands of demonstrators converged Friday in
a march of solidarity with the Palestinian
uprising against Israeli occupation.
President Mohammed Khatami, as well as a number of
cabinet ministers, MPs and other leading figures,
participated in the march.
Similar marches were held across the country to
mark "World Qods (Jerusalem) Day," instituted in
1980 by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini,
founder of Iran's Islamic republic.