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Iraq Reports New Tanker Attacks; Iran Rages at Floating U.S. Bases

December 05, 1987|Associated Press

MANAMA, Bahrain — Iraq said that its air force attacked two more tankers in Iran's Persian Gulf waters Friday and "will continue its strikes to smash the hollow heads of the Iranian rulers" and end the seven-year-old Iran-Iraq War.

Iran said that it will "never tolerate" the use of barges off Kuwait as floating American bases. Pentagon officials said in Brussels earlier this week that the United States and Kuwait have agreed to such a plan.

At U.N. headquarters in New York, Iran again said it will not accept the Security Council's July 20 cease-fire resolution until Iraq is branded the aggressor. Iraq invaded Iran in September, 1980, after several border skirmishes.

Disruptive Intentions

Iraq says its continuing attacks on ships are intended to disrupt the oil exports Iran uses to finance the war and force the Iranians to accept the U.N.-sponsored truce.

It said Friday's raids hit "large naval targets," its usual term for tankers. Neither raid was confirmed by independent shipping sources.

In the period Nov. 4-26, Iraq claimed it carried out more than two dozen raids on ships, but only 10 were confirmed independently. Iran retaliated with 10 attacks on neutral shipping.

Since Nov. 27, the Iraqis have claimed five more raids, with three confirmed. No retaliatory attacks by Iran have been reported.

'Sensitive War Zone'

Tehran's official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Parliament Speaker, as telling a "huge" gathering of war volunteers that Iran "will never allow the United States to approach our coastal waters and set up bases near the sensitive war zone."

"This (U.S. move) is provocative, and our nation will never tolerate such impudence," he said.

The United States already leases two barges from a U.S. construction firm--with Kuwait said to be paying the bill--as offshore bases to support Navy operations in escorting convoys of U.S.-flagged Kuwaiti tankers through the Persian Gulf. The heavily defended barges are in international waters.

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