Friday, March 03, 2006

Mubarak says he warned the United States not to attack Iran

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak strongly advised the United States not to attack Iran, warning that military action would create more terrorists in neighboring Iraq, according to comments published Wednesday.

Mubarak also told Egyptian newspaper editors he warned Vice President Dick Cheney that ground troops “will have a hard time” in such a conflict. “If an airstrike (against Iran) takes place, then Iraq will be turned to terror groups,” Mubarak was quoted as saying by the daily Al-Gomhouria.

He said Shiite Muslims in the Gulf region also could turn against the United States because “Iran generously provides for Shiites in every country and these people are ready to do anything if Iran is attacked.”

“Listen to my advice for once,” he recalled telling Cheney in English. “You have vital interests in the Gulf region, especially oil.”

The United States and other Western governments suspect that Iran's nuclear research program is a cover for weapons development and fear that Tehran is seeking to build an atomic bomb. Tehran insists it only wants to generate electricity.

International negotiations over the crisis are under way. Mubarak said he hoped the issue would be resolved peacefully. When asked, he said it was unlikely Israel would launch a nuclear attack against Iran “because Iran owns ballistic missiles that it will launch against Israel and there will be huge destruction.”

Mubarak added that such an attack also would spark revenge from Iraqi groups, extremists religious parties and organizations such as the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Mubarak spoke to the editors on his way back from a tour of Gulf states, including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.



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