Saturday, February 18, 2006

Iranian suicide bombers warn against enemy strike on nuclear facilities

Canadian Press
Published: Saturday, February 18, 2006

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - An Iranian group that claims its members are dedicated to becoming suicide bombers warned the United States and Britain on Saturday they will strike coalition military bases in Iraq if Tehran's nuclear facilities are attacked.

Mohammad Ali Samadi, spokesman for Esteshadion, or Martyrdom Seekers, boasted of having hundreds of potential bombers in his talk at a seminar on suicide-bombings tactics at Tehran's Khajeh Nasir University.

"With more than 1,000 trained martyrdom-seekers, we are ready to attack the American and British sensitive points if they attack Iran's nuclear facilities," Samadi said.

"If they strike, we have a lot of volunteers. Their (U.S. and British) sensitive places are quite close to Iranian borders," Samadi said.

Samadi reviewed the history of suicide bombing as a weapon, praising it as the most effective Palestinian tactic in their confrontation with Israel.

The organizers showed video clips of suicide attacks against Israelis, including one in the Morag settlement near Rafah in the Gaza Strip in February 2005. One Jewish settler, three Israeli soldiers and the two attackers were killed in the attack.

Hasan Abbasi, a university instructor and former member of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, told the audience of about 200 Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons as claimed by the United States and some of its allies.

"Our martyrdom-seekers are our nuclear weapons," said Abbasi, the event's main speaker.

After his speech, about 50 students filled out membership applications.

"This is a unique opportunity for me to die for God, next to my brothers in Palestine. That was why I signed up," said Reza Haghshenas, a 22-year-old electrical engineering student.

A 23-year-old woman student, Maryam Amereh, said: "We are trying to defend Islam. It's a way to draw the attention of others to our activities."

But Rahim Hasanlu, a 22-year-old industrial management student, declared himself not interested in joining.

"I just attended to learn what they're saying, thats all."

Esteshadion was formed in late 2004, calling for members on a sporadic basis at Friday prayer ceremonies, state-sponsored rallies and at the group's occasional meetings.

© The Canadian Press 2006

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