TEHRAN — Iranian parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani Friday dismissed Israeli threats to attack Iranian nuclear installations as “suicidal” and said that it would not make much difference to Iran who was elected president of the United States. In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor at Iran’s historic parliament chambers, Larijani, a member of a prominent Iranian religious family and Iran’s former chief nuclear negotiator, also denied allegations that Iran has used a site called Parchin for nuclear work. Larijani maintained that US, Turkish and Arab support for Syrian rebels was fueling the civil war in that country and said that Iran would not abandon its long-time ally, President Bashar al-Assad, despite the deaths of more than 20,000 people in Syria in the past 18 months. He accused the US of wanting “to make a new Benghazi,” referring to the Libyan opposition stronghold that was recognized by many countries before the downfall of long-time Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
Excerpts from the interview follow: