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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

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Iranian Cleric Alleges US Nuclear Blast In First Gulf War

By VOA News

24 October 2008

A senior Iranian cleric has raised allegations the U.S. used a small nuclear weapon in the first Gulf War, a charge the U.S. denies.

Iranian state media reports former president Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani Friday iquestioned why journalists have not pursued a report that the U.S. exploded an atomic weapon in the final days of the 1991 war.

A spokesman for U.S. Central Command told VOA the reason is that the alleged incident never happened. The spokesman, Major Joe Kloppel, said Friday such an assertion is completely unfounded.

Iran media report that during Friday prayers, Rafsanjani referred to an Italian television interview earlier this month with a U.S. Gulf war veteran. The former soldier said that in February 1991, the U.S. detonated a five-kilogram bomb between the southern Iraqi city of Basra and the Iranian border.

The veteran said he had records of seismic activity in the area at the time to back up his claim.

The U.S. military said some of the larger conventional weapons used during the war could have caused such a seismic event. It has always maintained that only conventional weapons were used during the conflict.

Mr. Rafsanjani's accusation comes one day after Washington imposed unilateral sanctions against an Iranian bank, as well as 13 foreign companies that the U.S. says passes sensitive technology to, among other countries, Iran.

Iran is under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear activities. Western nations accuse it of trying to develop nuclear weapons, while Tehran says its program is for peaceful, civilian needs.



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