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Posts Tagged ‘warns’

Two Koreas take tough stance as think-tank warns of war

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2010 at 5:57 am

The two Koreas are still talking tough one month after the North’s artillery bombardment sent tensions soaring, with Pyongyang threatening nuclear war and Seoul vowing strong retaliation for any new attack.

One day after deploying tanks, artillery and jet fighters in a military show of force, Seoul’s defence ministry said Friday that a giant Christmas tree near the North Korean border would stay lit up till January 8.

The move is likely to anger Pyongyang since the date marks the birthday of its heir apparent Kim Jong-Un. The communist North sees the tree topped with a glowing cross as a provocative propaganda symbol.

The ministry said it hoped to send “a message of peace to the North” and the timing was just a coincidence.

South Korean Army K-9 155mm self-propelled Howitzers fire live rounds during joint air and ground military exercises on the Seungjin Fire Training Field, in mountainous Pocheon.

An international think-tank urged the two Koreas to accept international arbitration to redraw the flashpoint disputed Yellow Sea border.

“Measures must urgently be adopted to reduce the possibility of all-out war”, the International Crisis Group said in a report.

The North said Thursday it was ready for a “sacred war” using its nuclear weapons, as the South held its second live-fire drill in a week.

Pyongyang’s armed forces minister Kim Yong-Chun said the South’s firing drill Monday, on Yeonpyeong island near the Yellow Sea border, was a preparation for a new Korean war.

“The revolutionary armed forces of the DPRK (North Korea) are getting fully prepared to launch a sacred war of justice of Korean style based on the nuclear deterrent at any time necessary to cope with the enemies’ actions deliberately pushing the situation to the brink of a war,” Kim said.

The North on November 23 bombarded Yeonpyeong, killing four people including civilians. Pyongyang said it was retaliating for a South Korean firing drill that dropped shells into waters that it claims are North Korean territory.

The South’s military, accused of a perceived feeble response to last month’s bombardment, has been stressing it will hit back harder next time, using air power.

President Lee Myung-Bak, visiting a frontline army unit Thursday, warned of severe retaliation for any new attack.

“We’ve endured for long enough. We thought we could maintain peace on this land if we endured, but that was not the case,” Lee said. “Now we need to strongly retaliate to maintain peace, deter provocations and prevent war.”

People in the North, the president said, “are almost starving to death, and with the money spent to make atomic bombs, people could live”.

The United States has firmly backed its ally the South and urged China to do more to restrain its own ally, the North.

The North’s latest comments prompted the US State Department to chide it for its “belligerent tricks”.

“We need constructive actions, not heated rhetoric,” spokesman Philip Crowley said.

Despite earlier strong threats, the North did not retaliate for Monday’s firing drill on Yeonpyeong. It also offered nuclear concessions, according to US politician Bill Richardson, who ended a visit to Pyongyang this week.

Richardson said the North agreed to readmit UN atomic inspectors and negotiate the sale of nuclear fuel rods to a third party.

The New Mexico governor, who has longstanding contacts with North Korea, said Thursday the United States should consider resuming talks with the North.

Richardson said a resumption of six-nation talks — under which the North earlier agreed to give up its nuclear weapons in return for aid — could help prevent a new escalation of tensions.

If “they don’t react militarily again to this recent drill, then maybe the time has come for the six-party talks,” he told CNN, referring to the South Korean exercise staged Thursday.

Source: SGGP

UN rights envoy warns N.Korea further isolating itself

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2010 at 11:21 am

SEOUL, Nov 26, 2010 (AFP) – The UN human rights envoy for North Korea warned Friday that the country is isolating itself at a time when it badly needs humanitarian aid.

Marzuki Darusman was on his first mission to South Korea since taking the post this year but, like his predecessor, was denied entry to the country formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

“The DPRK should not find itself in isolation at a juncture when it needs the support and cooperation of the international community the most, both to address the human rights situation and the humanitarian needs,” he said.

Darusman was speaking days after the volatile regime fired a deadly barrage of shells and rockets at a South Korean island near the disputed sea border, claiming it had acted in retaliation to a military exercise being staged there.

A North Korean soldier on a naval vessel on the banks of the Yalu River some 70 kms north of the North Korean border town of Siniuju which lies across the river from Dandong in northeast China’s Liaoning province on November 26, 2010. AFP

The UN envoy noted that, after devastating floods hit the North in August, South Korea had offered 5,000 tons of rice and 250,000 bags of cement in humanitarian aid for victims in the impoverished country.

All such aid shipments have been frozen since the North launched its strike on the island of Yeonpyeong, which killed two marines and two civilians and wounding 18 other people.

It was the first shelling of civilians since the 1950-53 Korean War.

Darusman said that despite the outbreak of hostilities, “it is important to continue to provide such humanitarian assistance”, while ensuring that all aid distribution “reaches the neediest population”.

Source: SGGP

N.Korea warns of more strikes, blames US as carrier heads in

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2010 at 5:20 am

SEOUL, Nov 25, 2010 (AFP) – North Korea on Thursday blamed the South and the US for provoking its artillery bombardment and warned it was ready to strike again, as a US carrier headed in for war games off the tense peninsula.

World powers agonised over how to deal with the volatile and nuclear-armed communist regime over its attack on a Yellow Sea island, in what one veteran North Korea watcher labelled a diplomatic “problem from hell”.

Isolated North Korea charged in a statement that “the US can never evade responsibility for the recent exchange of fire”, which saw four people killed when Pyongyang’s forces shelled the island in disputed waters on Tuesday.

An armed North Korean soldier (L) and civilian talk on the banks of of the North Korean border town of Siniuju across the Yalu River from Dandong in northeast China’s Liaoning province on November 25, 2010. AFP

“If the warmongering South Korean puppets fail to return to their senses and commit another reckless military provocation, our army will carry out second and third rounds of powerful physical retaliatory strikes without hesitation.”

The warning came as the US and South Korean navies plan to hold a four-day naval exercise in the Yellow Sea from Sunday that will involve a strike group headed by aircraft carrier the USS George Washington.

Although the show of allied maritime firepower had been scheduled well before this week’s attacks, the US military said, it would also demonstrate the US “commitment to regional stability through deterrence”.

South Korea also said Thursday it would “sharply increase military forces, including ground troops, on the five islands in the Yellow Sea and allocate more of its budget toward dealing with North Korea’s asymmetrical threats”.

Enraged by the first shelling of its civilians since the 1950-53 Korean War, South Korea was still counting the cost of the attack on Yeonpyeong island, which lies near the tense post-war sea demarcation line.

The explosions that shattered the calm of the remote islet killed two marines and two civilians, wounded 18 others, left 22 buildings in charred ruins and sent hundreds of terrified residents fleeing to the mainland.

US President Barack Obama has pledged to stand “shoulder to shoulder” with ally South Korea, where 28,500 American troops are stationed, facing off across a Cold War era frontier.

The world has often been baffled by the regime ruling impoverished North Korea, which has staged two nuclear tests, fired missiles over Japan and this month showed off to a US academic a modern new nuclear facility.

Many observers believe Tuesday’s attack was meant to highlight the military credentials of the leader-in-waiting — Kim Jong-il’s little-known 27-year-old son Kim Jong-Un, who two months ago took a key military post.

North Korea has also rejected a proposal by the US-led United Nations Command, which supervises the armistice, to hold military talks on the attack, Yonhap news agency reported citing a South Korean defence official.

While the US, European powers, South Korea and Japan have long pushed hard to sanction the regime, China and Russia have favoured a softer line with Pyongyang, a Cold War era ally and neighbour to both.

When an intergovernmental expert panel found that a North Korean submarine in March torpedoed and sank a South Korean corvette the Cheonan, killing all 46 sailor aboard, China refused to blame the Pyongyang regime.

Premier Wen Jiabao said in Moscow that “China is firmly committed to maintaining the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula and opposes any provocative military acts”.

It was not clear whether Wen was referring to the North Korean shelling or to the planned US-South Korean military exercises. Beijing has bitterly opposed similar war games there in the past.

North Korea expert Peter Beck, with the US think tank the Council on Foreign Relations, said: “In the wake of the Cheonan sinking, Beijing showed us that they are more than willing to put up with Pyongyang’s worst behaviour.”

“Given that this incident brings us closer to the brink of war than the Cheonan, Beijing might conclude that enough is enough and quietly put their foot down, but I am not holding my breath.”

Source: SGGP

Bin Laden warns France over Afghan war, veil ban

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2010 at 7:41 am

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden threatens in a new audio tape to kill French citizens to avenge their country’s support for the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan and a new law that will ban face-covering Muslim veils.

In the tape obtained by satellite television station Al-Jazeera and then posted on its website on Wednesday, bin Laden said France was aiding the Americans in the killing of Muslim women and children in an apparent reference to the war in Afghanistan. He said the kidnapping of five French citizens in the African nation of Niger last month was a reaction to what he called France’s oppression of Muslims.

“How can it be right that you participate in the occupation of our lands, support the Americans in the killing of our women and children and yet want to live in peace and security?” said bin Laden, addressing the French.

This image made from video broadcast on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2001 shows Osama bin Laden at an undisclosed location.

“It is a simple and clear equation: As you kill, you will be killed. As you capture, you will be captured. And as you threaten our security, your security will be threatened. The way to safeguard your security is to cease your oppression and its impact on our nation, most importantly your withdrawal from the ill-fated Bush war in Afghanistan.”

The authenticity of the tape could not be immediately verified but the voice resembled that of the terror group leader on previous tapes determined to be genuine.

French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux told the parliament hours after the message was posted that the risk of a terror attack against the country was real and authorities’ vigilance is “total,” according to a report on newspaper El Figaro’s website.

But he added that the threats “would merely fit into the pattern of different threats that have already been made against our country and our citizens, at home and abroad. It currently appears that these comments don’t do more than justify our keeping up our response in the face of the terrorist threat.”

Tapes by bin Laden and his top lieutenant, Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahri, have recently been posted on Al-Jazeera website rather than on sites run by militant Muslims as has been done for years. The shift appears to reflect the unexplained technical difficulties or closures experienced by the militant sites in recent months.

France has about 4,000 troops deployed in and near Afghanistan.

“You need to think of what happened to America as a result of that unjust war,” bin Laden said, again addressing the French and referring to the war in Afghanistan. “It’s on the verge of bankruptcy … and tomorrow it will retreat to beyond the Atlantic.”

France passed a law this month that will ban the wearing of face-covering burqa-style Muslim veils in public starting in April. Many Muslims have expressed fears the law would stigmatize them.

“If you deemed it your right to ban (Muslim) women from wearing the hijab, then should not it be our right to expel your invading men by striking their necks?” bin Laden said.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, an offshoot of bin Laden’s group, has claimed responsibility for the abductions of five French citizens in Niger and is believed to have taken them to neighboring Mali. The French hostages, as well as a Togolese and a Madagascar national were kidnapped on Sept. 16 while they were sleeping in their villas in the uranium mining town of Arlit.

“The kidnapping of your experts in the Niger is a reaction to your oppression of Muslims,” said bin Laden.

Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb grew out of an Islamist insurgency movement in Algeria, merging with al-Qaida in 2006 and spreading through the Sahara and the arid Sahel region. It has increasingly been targeting French interests.

In July, the group said it executed a 78-year-old French aid worker it had taken hostage three months before. It said the killing was retaliation for the deaths of six al-Qaida members in a French-backed military operation against the group.

Also in July, the French military said it provided technical and logistical assistance to help Mauritanian forces thwart an attack by suspected al-Qaida members in northwest Africa. It said the operation left six extremists dead.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy later described that operation as a “turning point” and said France would provide training, equipment and intelligence to local troops working to fight militants in the Sahel.

A series of warnings has put France and other European countries on high alert in recent weeks, prompting the U.S. State Department to advise American citizens living or traveling in Europe to take more precautions. Speculation on the source of a potential terror threat in France has focused on al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

Source: SGGP

Japan warns of more currency intervention

In Uncategorized on October 15, 2010 at 10:26 am

AFP/File – A bank teller counts yen bank notes in Tokyo.

HONG KONG (AFP) – Fears of a global currency war mounted Friday after Japan voiced concerns about wild forex movements, while China said the US should not use the yuan as a “scapegoat” for its economic woes.

The comments come as tensions simmer between nations as they to damp their currencies to safeguard exports, an issue that is set to dominate a Group of 20 summit of the world’s top economies next month.

Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Friday he was “very concerned about the currency situation” after the yen hit a 15-year high against the dollar on expectations the US will soon announce economic pump-priming measures.

Earlier his finance minister, Yoshihiko Noda told reporters: “We will take decisive steps when necessary, from the perspective of curbing excessive fluctuations in exchange rates.”

Tokyo’s warnings come as Japan’s shaky economic recovery is held up by the soaring yen, which hurts the nation’s growth-driving exporters by making their products more expensive overseas.

The US Federal Reserve’s expected easing measures are aimed at boosting the world’s biggest economy, which many in Washington say is being hampered by an undervalued Chinese yuan.

However, Beijing Friday said the yuan’s weakness against the greenback must not be used as a “scapegoat” for Washington’s problems.

“The United States can’t use domestic reasons to pass on its domestic employment and economic growth problems (to other nations),” commerce ministry spokesman Yao Jian told reporters.

“The yuan’s rate must not be the scapegoat of US domestic problems.”

Yao’s statement came hours before a US Treasury Department’s report on nations’ currency practices that could label Beijing a “currency manipulator”.

Yao said US impatience with the yuan was part of an American strategy aimed at taking “discriminatory trade measures against Chinese products.”

Critics in the United States and Europe accuse China of keeping the yuan undervalued by as much as 40 percent but Beijing has consistently rejected any pressure for a fast rise in the unit.

The yuan has gained just over 2.6 percent since Beijing said in June it would allow it to move more freely against the greenback.

The dollar’s weakness was compounded after data Thursday showed the trade deficit jumped to 46.3 billion dollars in August while new claims for unemployment benefits rose, adding to fears about the economy.

A surprise policy tightening move by Singapore to widen the trading band of its currency on Thursday also added to pressure on the greenback.

On Friday the dollar stood at 81.31 yen, from 81.44 in New York Thursday, where it plunged to a 15-year low of 80.89 yen at one point.

The euro stood at 1.4048 dollars and 114.35 yen, compared with 1.4083 dollars and 114.70 yen in New York.

The Australian dollar was almost at parity with the greenback, striking 99.94 US cents at one point before easing to 99.25, while the Singapore dollar was at 1.263 against the US dollar.

Fears have escalated as emerging economies look to combat inflows from investors searching for higher yields, which have pushed regional units up.

The dollar’s tumble has led to fresh fears of a global currency war as nations look to safeguard exports, with governments trading blows.

Tokyo Wednesday criticised China and South Korea for their policies, calling on them to refrain from pushing their currencies lower and act “responsibly” to help stabilise markets.

Japan stepped into the forex markets in September for the first time in six years, although Tokyo says it acted to prevent volatile movements.

But it has accused Seoul of repeated interventions to sell the won and put its own exporters at an advantage while suggesting Beijing has made slow progress with yuan reform.

Thailand moved Tuesday to rein in the soaring baht, which is at near 13-year highs.

The forex disputes will be top of the agenda at the G20 summit in Seoul next month, South Korean Finance Minister Yoon Jeung-Hyun said Friday.

However, the battle is likely to come to the fore when Group of 20 finance ministers hold a pre-summit meeting on October 22-23.

Against other Asian currencies, the dollar was at 1,112.00 South Korean won, from 1,111.55 Thursday, at 30.70 Taiwan dollars from 30.69, at 43.27 Philippine pesos from 43.19 and 8,923.00 Indonesian rupiah from 8,917.50.

The Thai baht changed hands at 29.82-87 against the dollar, flat from 29.82-85.

Source: SGGP

Fidel Castro warns Obama against attacking Iran

In Uncategorized on August 8, 2010 at 11:20 am

Fidel Castro, Cuba’s 83-year-old revolutionary leader, called on the U.S. president to avoid military confrontation with Iran during his landmark speech in the Cuban parliament, reported RIA-Novosti.

Cuba revolutionary leader Fidel Castro takes part in the emergency seesion of the National Assembly of People Power in Havana on August 7, 2010.

Castro, who rarely appeared in public after the 2006 intestinal surgery, took part in his first government function in four years on Saturday.

Wearing a dark green military shirt he made a 90-minute appearance before the country’s National Assembly of People’s Power which convened for an emergency session on his request.

During his ten-minute speech, Castro reiterated that a military conflict between U.S. and Iran would result in a nuclear conflict and a presidential order to attack Iran would mean “instant death” for millions of people.

Castro said that two month ago he was sure that a war between the U.S. and Iran was imminent, but today he had “hope, and very strong” that the conflict can be avoided.

The Cuban leader, who has rarely been seen in public since ceding power to his younger brother in 2008, made a series of public appearances this summer.

In late July he gave a start to celebrations of the 57th anniversary of the Cuban revolution.

Fidel also released a CD of a collection of his articles from the CubaDebate website and released his new memoir recollecting the moments from 1958 when young revolutionaries liberated the island from Fulgencio Batista’s regime.


Source: SGGP

S.Korea warns N.Korea on eve of naval drill

In Uncategorized on August 4, 2010 at 7:20 am

SEOUL, Aug 4, 2010 (AFP) – South Korea warned North Korea Wednesday it would not tolerate provocations during an upcoming naval exercise in the Yellow Sea, after Pyongyang threatened “strong physical retaliation” for the drill.

“Our military will keep a close eye on our enemy, be ready under any circumstances during the training and will not tolerate any type of provocation,” Rear Admiral Kim Kyung-Sik told a briefing.

A spokesman for the Joint Chiefs of Staff told AFP separately that if the North fires at the South, “we will stage an immediate counter-attack”.

The five-day anti-submarine drill starting Thursday is a response to the North’s alleged torpedo attack in March on a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, which killed 46 sailors.

Military officials said 29 ships including a submarine and a destroyer, 50 fixed-wing aircraft and 4,500 army, navy, air force, marine and coastguard personnel would take part.

They said marines stationed on islands near the disputed Yellow Sea border with the North would stage live-fire exercises, but naval ships would stay far south of the line.

Kim said the exercise would be a legitimate defensive drill in the South’s waters. Its aim was “to warn North Korea, and show our military capability to them, that future provocations will not be tolerated”.

In a joint show of strength, the US and South Korean military last week staged one of their largest-ever joint naval and air drills on the other side of the peninsula.

The allies plan more joint drills this year but this week’s exercise will only involve South Korea.

The United States has also announced new sanctions on the North to punish it for the alleged ship attack and push it to scrap its nuclear weapons programme.

The North disputes the maritime borderline in the Yellow Sea, which has been the scene of several naval clashes, saying it should run further to the south. The Cheonan went down near the border and a multinational investigation concluded it had been torpedoed by one of the North’s submarines.

The North’s military Tuesday dubbed the upcoming exercise a “direct military invasion”.

It said “reckless naval firing” by the South would be countered “with strong physical retaliation”.

The North routinely denounces US-South Korean war games as a rehearsal for war, while the allies say they are purely defensive.

Pyongyang threatened nuclear retaliation for last week’s joint drill, which ended without incident.

A South Korean newspaper said Wednesday the North had moved long-range anti-aircraft missiles close to the border with the South as tensions rose over the sunken warship.

Chosun Ilbo quoted a military source as saying the North moved some SA-5 missiles to areas near the border, where they pose a potential threat to South Korean jets.

A separate media report said the United States was expected to blacklist three key North Korean figures suspected of handling secret funds for leader Kim Jong-Il as part of its new sanctions.

Yonhap news agency, quoting a South Korean government source, said one of the three is Kim Tong-Myong, head of the North’s Tanchon Commercial Bank.

“The US is paying special attention to three people, including Kim Tong-Myong, who operate North Korea’s secret funds abroad,” the source was quoted as saying.

“If they are included in the new sanctions, it could deal a blow to North Korea’s leadership.”

The foreign ministry had no comment on the report.

Source: SGGP

N.Korea warns of ‘counter-attack’ to S.Korea exercise

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2010 at 7:19 am

SEOUL, Aug 3, 2010 (AFP) – North Korea’s military Tuesday threatened a “physical counter-attack” to a South Korean naval exercise set to start this week in the Yellow Sea, North Korea’s official media reported.

The military’s western command, in a notice to the South, said it was determined to suppress any live-fire exercise with a “strong physical counter-attack”, the Korean Central News Agency said.

The South has announced an anti-submarine exercise from August 5-9, involving the army, navy, air force and marines, in response to what it says was a deadly North Korean torpedo attack on a warship.

It is not clear exactly where the exercise will be held. The area around the disputed maritime border in the Yellow Sea has been the scene of several naval clashes.

In March, a South Korean corvette sank near the border with the loss of 46 lives in an incident Seoul and its allies blamed on an attack by a North Korean torpedo.

“As we already declared at home and abroad, there is only a maritime demarcation line set by our side in the West Sea (Yellow Sea),” the news agency quoted the message as saying.

The North’s military warned South Korean fishing boats and other civilian ships to stay clear. It denounced the exercise as an “act of military aggression” and a “reckless political provocation”.

South Korea and the United States last week staged a major naval and air exercise in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) designed to deter aggression from the North.

The North denies involvement in the corvette’s sinking. It threatened nuclear retaliation for last week’s drill, which passed without incident.

The North routinely denounces joint military exercises south of the border as a rehearsal for war, while the US and South Korea describe them as purely defensive.

Source: SGGP

US Fed official warns of ‘Japanese-style’ stagnation

In Uncategorized on July 30, 2010 at 3:18 am

The US economy risks “Japanese-style” stagnation, a top Federal Reserve official warned Thursday, as a key economic report was expected to show the recovery is losing pace.

Bluntly cautioning about “the peril” of deflation, James Bullard — a member of the Fed’s interest rate-setting panel — said the United States was closer to a Japanese-style lost decade “than at any time in recent history.”

“Escape from such an outcome is problematic,” he wrote in a Fed journal. “Hope is not a strategy.”

Given any risk of an external shock that would spark falling prices — squeezing firms and forcing ever-slower growth — Bullard said the central bank should consider restarting crisis measures.

The US Federal Reserve building is seen in 2009 in Washington, DC.

Since the beginning of the financial crisis in late 2007, the Fed and Treasury Department have purchased hundreds of billions of dollars of US debt in the hope of boosting economic activity, part of a process known in economic jargon as “quantitative easing.”

But with interest rates at historic lows, the Fed has few levers left to prime the economy. Bullard warned that the bank would find it difficult to bring interest rates back to normal levels to help exit the spiral.

Promising low interest rates “at zero for a long time is a double-edged sword,” he said. “A better policy response to a negative shock is to expand the quantitative easing program through the purchase of Treasury securities.”

Until recently, the central bank had been looking forward to unloading such investments and putting its balance sheet back in order.

But with the recovery teetering on the brink, it is being forced to consider stepping back into the breach.

On Friday, the US government will publish its growth estimates for the second quarter. Analysts expect gross domestic product to have slowed to 2.5 percent in the period, down from 2.7 percent in the first three months of the year.

Still, Bullard’s comments appeared to paint a darker picture of the economy than that presented by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who recently told lawmakers he was “prepared” to take further action but only if the recovery “seems to be faltering.”

“We are going to continue to monitor the economy closely and continue to evaluate the alternatives that we have,” Bernanke said.

“If the recovery is continuing at a moderate pace, the incentive would be less.”

Bullard is widely considered an inflation hawk, so his comments were seen by many as a sign of a tectonic shift within the central bank.

But a Fed official denied any policy shift, telling AFP that Bullard had only sought to spark debate.

That view was shared by analysts.

“Bullard’s comments should be taken in the context of contingency planning and not as indicative of an imminent policy move,” said Michael Gapen of Barclays Capital.

“It is more likely that the analysis is meant to influence the direction that the Fed would move should conditions warrant.”

Source: SGGP

Iran warns EU against imposing sanctions

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2010 at 11:16 am

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned the European Union (EU) on Sunday against imposing unilateral sanctions, saying Tehran would react swiftly and cause “remorse.”

“We do not welcome any tension or a new resolution. We seek logic and friendship,” Ahmadinejad said in remarks directed at the EU, which were translated into English by the Press TV channel.

“I should tell you that anyone who adopts a measure against the Iranian nation, such as inspection of our ships and planes, should know that Iran will react swiftly,” the hardliner said.

“Experience shows that such a reaction by the Iranian nation will cause remorse to it (the EU),” he added.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, pictured in June 2010,

The EU will impose tough sanctions against Iran’s vital oil and gas industries on Monday in a bid to lure Tehran back to the negotiating table over its disputed nuclear programme.

EU leaders and the United States decided to impose their own penalties against the Iranian energy sector soon after the UN Security Council levied its fourth set of punitive measures on June 9.

The sanctions are part of a twin-track approach with EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton seeking to revive moribund talks between Iran and six world powers — the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

Western powers have demanded that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment programme, fearing that Tehran would use the material to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran says its atomic programme is a peaceful drive to produce energy.

The new EU sanctions reportedly include a ban on the sale of equipment, technology and services to Iran’s energy sector, hitting activities in refining, liquefied natural gas, exploration and production.

The EU will also ban dual-use goods that can be used for conventional weapons, and step up vigilance of Iranian banking, barring banks connected to Iran from opening branches.

Ahmadinejad warned that countries supporting the United States in its anti-Iran agenda will be considered as “hostile” towards the Islamic republic.

“Anyone who participates in the (anti-Iran) US scheme, we will consider them as hostile… and Iran will strongly respond to any threat” from them, the hardliner said.

Ahmadinejad, under whose presidency Iran’s relations with the West have deteriorated, said that the US and its aides are “worried by Iran’s progress.”

“By launching a psychological war, they think they can halt the Iranian nation’s progress,” he said, adding that imposing sanctions was also part of a move to halt the nation’s progress.

“They do not want Iran to reach the status it deserves,” he added.

Source: SGGP