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US plays down Iran threat -

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US plays down Iran threat

Broadcast: 09/02/2007

Reporter: Tom Iggulden

The United States has denied it is planning to invade Iran and has played down recent threats from


VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Iran's Grand Ayatollah has hit out at the United States, claiming his country has
the power to retaliate against American interests the world over, but Washington insists it's not
planning to invade Iran and has played down the threat from Tehran. Tom Iggulden reports.

TOM IGGULDEN: Americans are no strangers to these sorts of images from Iran, public test-firing and
a hairy chested propaganda campaign. In this case it's land to sea missiles. Iran says they could
take out US naval vessels in the gulf, America says the weapons don't have the range, but the
propaganda campaign has stepped up a gear, this time it's being pushed by Iran's most powerful
leader, the Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

GRAND AYATOLLAH ALI KHAMENEI (TRANSLATION): The US knows well that any aggression will lead to a
reaction from all sides in the Iranian nation on the aggressors and their interests around the
world, and we believe that no-one will make that unwise and wrong move to endanger their country
and interests but some say that the US President is not the type who acts based on calculations or
thinks about the consequences of his actions.

ROBERT GATES, US DEFENCE SECRETARY: We have no intention of attacking Iran. The President said
that, the Secretary of State said it, I have said it before. Obviously, when it comes to things
like these tests, we watch them closely and, other than that, I think it's just another day in the
Persian Gulf.

TOM IGGULDEN: Russia is about the only country still engaged in diplomatic talks with Tehran. There
was another meeting today between the Ayatollah's envoy and the Russian Foreign Minister.

SERGEI LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (TRANSLATION): We have sent appropriate signals with our
ideas to Tehran and we hope that during today's talks we can consider the reaction of your
leadership on these signals.

TOM IGGULDEN: Since changing its Iraq policy late last year, the White House has persistently
accused Iran of stirring sectarian violence inside its neighbours' borders, heightening Tehran's
fears of military action against it, but a military campaign against Iran would be hard to launch
in the immediate future. There are already growing concerns in the US about the cost of the Iraq
campaign. On top of the rising body count, the economic cost has, according to one report, exceeded
$450 billion, enough to supply free fuel to every American driver for a year.

KEN POLLACK, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: One of the great tragedies of Iraq is the administration has
mismanaged the war so badly that it has wound up costing the taxpayer far more than it might have.

TOM IGGULDEN: Talk of a potential trillion-dollar war would be hard to fathom in eastern Syria,
home to increasing numbers of Iraqi refugees. Today they got a visit from the UN.

ANTONIO GUTERRES, UN HIGH COMMISSION FOR REFUGEES: The problem is so huge that the cooperation of
everybody is absolutely essential.

TOM IGGULDEN: With the Middle East beset by so many other crises, the UN's call is likely to fall
on deaf ears.