More than 22 years ago, an attack in Saudi Arabia was blamed on Iran, and the media, then, said the US is preparing to attack Iran. Now, another attack in Saudi Arabia is blamed on Iran and the US is said to be preparing to Attack Iran. And guest what, at that time too, Afghanistan was at war, and Iran was trying to bring peace to that country. Little has changed in quarter century.
For those with short memory and those who were not alive 22 years ago, we offer this unedited news report from 1997.
From Reuters, Sat Jan 25 12:38:30 1997
Date: Fri, 24 Jan 1997 15:21:38 PST
Subject: Senior cleric says Iran defence power unquestioned
TEHRAN (Reuter) – A senior Iranian cleric said Friday Iran had become a military power commanding fear in the region and even the United States knew that the country could defend itself.
“This country has become a military power. Our power has reached such a level that others fear it and America constantly expresses concern over it,” Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said in a mass Friday prayer sermon broadcast on Tehran radio.
“Of course they (U.S.) say a lot of rubbish and charge us with a lot of things but they see that there is a military power here that can defend itself. And that is all we are saying also,” said Jannati, a member of the powerful Guardian Council.
His remarks came a day after Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said Tehran would “powerfully respond to any possible U.S. military measures and reveal to the world the real
power of Iran.”
Iranian officials have reacted strongly to Western media reports linking Tehran to a June bombing in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 U.S. airmen, saying the reports indicated Washington was preparing an attack on the Islamic republic.
Iran has not been officially linked to the truck bomb attack and the country has denied involvement. Diplomats have said the United States may strike at Iran if it is convinced that Tehran played a role in the attack.
Iran, the Gulf’s non-Arab power, has repeatedly denied U.S. charges that its military is a threat to the oil-rich region’s Arab states, saying its armed forces are purely defensive.
Date: Sat, 25 Jan 1997 13:12:01 PST
Subject: Afghan talks open in Tehran without Taleban
TEHRAN, Iran (Reuter) – A conference to secure peace between warring factions in Afghanistan began in Tehran Saturday without the participation of the Islamic Taleban militia.
“We regret that not all Afghan groups participated,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati said in his opening speech.
The conference is the latest Iranian initiative for peace in neighboring Afghanistan where the Taleban, who drove out President Burhanuddin Rabbani’s government in September, has made major military gains in the past week.
Rabbani, ousted Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and former President Sibghatullah Mojadedi arrived in Tehran earlier this week for the talks. Taleban said Friday the militia had not received any formal invitation for the talks.
“Even if we get an invitation, we will not participate in this conference because Iran is not neutral, it favors one side,” Mullah Abddul Jalil, the Taleban’s acting deputy foreign
minister told a Pakistan-based news service.
Iran, which recognizes Rabbani’s government, has often criticized the Sunni Muslim Taleban for giving Islam a bad name.
Iranian media have blasted the Taleban as being set up by Pakistan and backed by Washington. Pakistan denies the charge. A leader of the Taleban militia said Saturday that opposition groups must accept it as the country’s government as a condition for peace talks. Attempts by the United Nations and Pakistan have failed to reconcile the Taleban and Rabbani’s government. No country has formally recognized the Taleban government.