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Iran Downplays Threat of US Military Strike


Iran continues to downplay the threat of U.S. military strikes, and says any U.S. attack on the Islamic republic would be a strategic mistake.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a news conference Sunday the chance of a U.S. strike is very low, echoing recent comments from President Mohammad Khatami.

Washington and Tehran have been locked in a three-year stand-off over U.S. allegations that Iran is using its nuclear program to develop banned weapons. Iran has repeatedly denied the charges.

Last week, a published report said U.S. commandos have carried out clandestine missions in Iran to identify targets for possible military strikes.

The White House rejected The New Yorker magazine report, but President Bush later said military action to deal with Iran's nuclear threat had not been ruled out.

Sunday, Mr. Asefi characterized the president's comments as psychological warfare.

Some information for this report provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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