Iran says U.S. is too stretched to attack it

BERLIN Sun Jul 29, 2007 12:28pm EDT

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki speaks at a news conference in Manama, Bahrain in this file photo from July 14, 2007. REUTERS/Hamad I. Mohammed

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki speaks at a news conference in Manama, Bahrain in this file photo from July 14, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Hamad I. Mohammed

BERLIN (Reuters) - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has told a German magazine that the United States has too many problems in Iraq to become involved in armed conflict with Iran.

Military action is sometimes discussed in Washington as an option in trying to derail what it sees as Iran's drive to develop nuclear weapons.

The United States "is not in a position to get into a new military conflict", Mottaki was quoted as saying in an excerpt of an interview to be published in Focus magazine.

"170,000 American soldiers can guarantee neither their own safety nor the security of Iraq," he said.

The United States and its allies say Iran's nuclear fuel enrichment program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons. Iran insists it is purely for peaceful power generation.

The United Nations has imposed sanctions on Iran for failing to stop enrichment, but Mottaki reiterated that Iran had no intention of curtailing the program.

Mottaki has dismissed the U.N. sanctions already imposed and said that tougher penalties would not change Iran's mind.

There was no mention of plans for further talks between Iran and the United States on Iraq.