Thursday, February 10, 2005

Iran Vows 'Burning Hell' for Any Aggressor

Iran, facing mounting U.S. pressure over its nuclear program, promised Thursday a "burning hell" for any aggressor as tens of thousands marched to mark the 26th anniversary of its Islamic revolution.

"The Iranian nation does not seek war, does not seek violence and dispute. But the world must know that this nation will not tolerate any invasion," President Mohammad Khatami said in a fiery speech to the crowd in central Tehran.

"The whole Iranian nation is united against any threat or attack. If the invaders reach Iran, the country will turn into a burning hell for them," he added, as the crowd, braving heavy snow, chanted "Death to America!" and "Death to Israel!."

Senior officials had called for a big turnout at the revolution anniversary parades to send a message to Washington which has toughened its stance on Iran in recent weeks. ...


Diplomats said while the chances of a U.S. or Israeli attack were slim, Iran appeared to be on a collision course with the U.N. Security Council, which could impose sanctions.

"It's hard to see how they can avoid going to the Council, unless they substantially change their position," said a Western diplomat in Tehran.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday Tehran must accept a deal being offered by the European Union -- to scrap potentially weapons-related work like enrichment in return for trade deals and other incentives -- or be referred to the Security Council.