The American interpretation of a recent Israeli air force exercise as a warning to Iran that it could be bombed caused oil futures prices to rise and the US stock market to drop. In other words, if you’re an American with a pension fund, this stuff cost you money yesterday.
International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohammed Elbaradei said Friday that Iran’s nuclear research program was not such as to raise grave concerns at the moment, and that any attack on the research facilities would turn the Middle East into a fireball and force his own resignation. Quotes from the Al-Arabiya interview via Reuters:
“I don’t believe that what I see in Iran today is a current, grave and urgent danger. If a military strike is carried out against Iran at this time … it would make me unable to continue my work . . .” “A military strike, in my opinion, would be worse than anything possible. It would turn the region into a fireball . . .” “If you do a military strike, it will mean that Iran, if it is not already making nuclear weapons, will launch a crash course to build nuclear weapons with the blessing of all Iranians, even those in the West.”
Meanwhile, acting Friday Prayers leader in Tehran, hard liner Ahmad Khatami threatened a “strong blow” in retaliation if Iran were attacked. The AFP article misquotes him, since he did not say that Iran’s mentality is to attack foreigners. He said its mentality is to reject foreign rule.
See also Helena Cobban.