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. Iran warns Israel after Netanyahu attack threat
TEHRAN (AFP) Dec 05, 2005
Iran on Monday warned Israel of "heavy consequences" if its nuclear installations were attacked by the Jewish state, after a former Israeli premier suggested Israel should take an aggressive stance toward Iran.

"The Islamic republic is a tough target and there would be heavy consequences," said Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council.

He was speaking after former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel needed to "act in the spirit" of the late premier Menachem Begin, who ordered an air strike on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981.

"I view the development of the Iranian nuclear (programme) as a paramount threat and as a real danger to the future of the state of Israel," Netanyahu told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

"Israel needs to do everything to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear threat against it," said Netanyahu.

But Larijani said Iran, which maintains its nuclear programme is peaceful, was not afraid of an attack.

"Comparing Iran and Iraq is an error, because Iran is not an easy target. You should not pay attention to such rude comments by Israeli officials," he told a news conference.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi also said Iran's response to such an attack would be "devastating and unbearable".

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Netanyahu's arch rival, said last week that Israel would never allow its arch-enemy Iran to come into possession of nuclear weapons.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad caused an international backlash in October when he called for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map".

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in September found Iran in non-compliance with the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, paving the way for the matter to be referred to the UN Security Council if Iran does not halt nuclear fuel work and cooperate fully with an IAEA investigation.

Iran has insisted that its nuclear programme is merely designed to meet domestic energy needs.

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