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. Israeli Defence Minister calls for calm over rumoured attack on Iran
JERUSALEM (AFP) Dec 22, 2004
Israeli Defence Minister Shaoul Mofaz on Wednesday asked to "calm things down" concerning the possibility of his country striking Iranian nuclear installations.

"We have to calm things down concerning the so-called intentions attributed to Israel" of attacking Iran, Mofaz said in a television interview.

"I think that the way the United States is campaigning against Iranian leaders' desire to produce weapons of mass destruction is the right one," he told Channel 10.

He was responding to declarations made by Iranian army chief General Mohammad Salimi that his country's armed forces had been ordered to prepare to defend its nuclear sites against an attack.

"The air force has been ordered to protect the nuclear sites, using all its power," Salimi said Wednesday, quoted by the government daily Iran.

"The air force has temporarily suspended all its maneuvers and focused its means on patrolling the sky," he added.

"All our forces including land forces, anti-aircraft, radar tactics ... are protecting the nuclear sites and an attack on them will not be simple," the general said.

American newspapers and the regional press have speculated over a possible US or Israeli attack on the nuclear sites of Iran, which the Jewish state and Washington suspect of working to develop a bomb.

US and Israeli officials have denied any such plans.

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