Medvedev urges calm over Iran, warns of ‘catastrophe’

November 9th, 2011 - 6:18 am ICT by IANS  

Berlin, Nov 9 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said that increasing anti-Iranian rhetoric could lead to a catastrophe in the Middle East.

A new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s nuclear programme will be released Wednesday. Its details, some of which have been leaked, have prompted speculation over a possible military strike on Iran by Israel.

Senior members of the Israeli government have reportedly backed the possibility of striking Iran’s nuclear facilities, after having been updated on Tehran’s progress towards building a nuclear weapon, Fox TV reported.

Israeli President Shimon Peres has said an attack on Iran was becoming increasingly likely.

“The possibility of a military attack against Iran is now closer to being applied than the application of a diplomatic option,” Peres told the Israel Hayom daily.

But Defence Minister Ehud Barak said Tuesday Israel would not embark on any military operation against Iran.

“War is not a picnic. We want a picnic. We don’t want a war,” Barak told Israel radio.

Medvedev, at a joint press conference Tuesday with his German counterpart Christian Wulff, said: “As for the belligerent statements that Israel or anyone else is ready to apply force against Iran… that’s pretty dangerous rhetoric.”

“We realise that emotions in the Middle East are running high… the peace process has reached a dead end, there is no development. But military rhetoric could have grave consequences, all the way to conflict,” he said.

He called on the Middle East to “breathe out, calm down and continue constructive discussion of the questions on the agenda, rather than threaten with strikes”.

“This all could end up as war — a catastrophe for the Middle East,” the Russian president said.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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