Iran will produce nuclear weapons if attacked: Russia

Filed on March 20, 2012

MOSCOW Russia warned Tuesday that Iran would have no option but to develop nuclear weapons if it came under attack from either the United States or Israel over its contested atomic programme.

“The CIA and other US officials admit they now have no information about the Iranian leadership taking the political decision to produce nuclear weapons,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Moscow’s Kommersant FM radio.

“But I am almost certain that such a decision will surely be taken after (any) strikes on Iran,” Lavrov said.

The pre-recorded interview was aired shortly after Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that his country was ready to strike back against either the United States or Israel “at the same level as they attack us”.

Moscow has close military and commercial ties with Tehran and has only grudgingly backed four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons development drive.

Lavrov argued that Russia was not defending an ally but trying to avert a broader conflict or possible nuclear arms race from breaking out in the region.

He also strongly criticised Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for repeatedly threatening to destroy his country’s arch-foe Israel.

“This is completely unacceptable... and we categorically condemn it,” Lavrov said. “It is simply uncivilised and unworthy of a country as ancient as Iran.”

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