Iran is taking seriously the reported threat of a military strike against its nuclear facilities, a senior Iranian official said Tuesday while insisting that any such action would be "very silly."
With tensions again rising over Iran's nuclear program, Mohammad Javad Larijani, a senior advisor to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and head of the government's human rights council, insisted his country would never give up its right to acquire nuclear technology.
Questioned about reported threats of a military strike, Larijani told reporters: "No threat to Iran is taken superficially by the people in charge. We are fully prepared to confront any challenge. And to attack Iran may not be very difficult."
Military strikes would be "very silly," Larijani added on the sidelines of a visit to the United Nations. He also referred to the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists which the Islamic state has blamed on Israel and the United States.
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"If you kill two scientists there are hundreds more, if you hit one place then another one will be built," he said.
"We are very proud that we know this technology and science. We are very proud that we are number one in the region. Nobody can deprive Iran of this capability," he declared.
Larijani repeated accusations that Israel "with the cooperation of the United States" was behind the killings in January 2010 and November last year of two Iranian nuclear scientists.
He was also asked about an explosion on Saturday at a military base near Tehran in which a top missile expert was killed. Larijani said first signs indicated "an accident" but that an investigation was underway.
The International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors' meets in Vienna on Thursday and Friday, and western powers want a resolution condemning Iran over a new report on its nuclear drive.
The United States and its European allies accuse Iran of seeking a nuclear bomb. Tehran denies the charge. Reports that Israel or another nation could launch a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities have stoked the tensions.