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. Tehran plays down French warning of Israeli attack
TEHRAN, Sept 6 (AFP) Sep 06, 2008
Iran on Saturday played down French President Nicolas Sarkozy's warning this week that it risked being attacked by Israel because of its controversial nuclear programme.

"This regime (Israel) is not in such a position and does not have the capacity to even think about attacking Iran," government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham told reporters.

His remarks came after the French president warned on Thursday that Tehran's determination to press ahead with its nuclear drive risked provoking an Israeli military strike.

"Iran is taking a major risk by continuing the process of seeking nuclear technology for military ends," Sarkozy said at a four-way summit in Damascus with the leaders of Syria, Qatar and Turkey.

"Because one day, no matter which Israeli government is in power, one morning we will awake to find Israel has attacked," he said.

"Is Mr Sarkozy a spokesman for the occupying and counterfeit regime?" Elham asked rhetorically on Saturday. "If so, we advise them not to proceed in that direction," he added, without elaborating.

The United States and its staunch ally Israel -- the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear armed nation -- have never ruled out taking military action against Iran, which they accuse of seeking to make a nuclear bomb.

Iran insists its nuclear activities are aimed solely at generating energy, repeatedly vowing that any attack will be met by a crushing response.

Tehran risks a fourth round of UN sanctions over its failure to abide by international calls to freeze uranium enrichment, a process which makes nuclear fuel but can also be used to build the core of a nuclear weapon.

On Friday Iran also dismissed as "baseless" Sarkozy's comment that Tehran was pursuing its controversial nuclear programme for military purposes.

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