Iran threatens “harm and pain”; Cheney threatens “consequences”

It would almost be comical in its choreographed predictability, if the stakes for world peace weren’t so high. From Knight-Ridder, March 8:

The war of words over Iran’s nuclear program grew harsher Wednesday, as Iran threatened to inflict “harm and pain” on the United States in retaliation for any U.S.-led effort to force the Islamic republic to abandon its uranium enrichment work.

Iranian Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh delivered the warning in Vienna, Austria, during the final day of a three-day meeting of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. Last month, the IAEA board voted to report Iran to the U.N. Security Council for refusing to halt uranium enrichment work, but it agreed to delay the action for a month to allow more negotiations.

Separate initiatives involving Russia and the European Union, however, have failed to persuade Tehran to give up enrichment work, and the IAEA board adjourned without changing its Feb. 4 resolution. That means the Security Council could begin considering the issue as early as next week.

Soltanieh didn’t specify how Iran might retaliate against the United States for its push for U.N. action, but analysts said that Iran has an array of options, including attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and pushing oil prices higher by cutting exports.

“We are not naive about the United States’ sensation and desire to flex muscles. But we also see the bone fractures underneath,” Soltanieh said. “The United States has the power to cause harm and pain. But the United States is susceptible to harm and pain.

“If that is the path that the U.S. wishes to choose, let the ball roll,” he said.

International Herald Tribune, March 8:

With tensions rising over the Iranian nuclear program, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday that the United States still hoped negotiations could resolve the standoff, but Vice President Dick Cheney warned somberly of “meaningful consequences” if they did not.

“The Iranian regime needs to know that if it stays on its present course the international community is prepared to impose meaningful consequences,” Cheney said in a speech here to a pro- Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

And of course Dick has got to make his bellicose comments before AIPAC, just to keep up appearances that the war drive against Iran is all about appeasing the omnipotent Jews. And of course AIPAC, in turn, just laps it up, oblivious to how they are being played for pawns. But we’ve noted this depressing reality before.

See our last post on Iran.