NICOSIA, CYPRUS, JULY 24 -- Iran will strike at Iraq's regional allies if Iranian economic installations are hit in any future escalation of the Persian Gulf war, Iran's chief war spokesman said today.
"From now on, if our wells, installations and centers are hit we will make the installations and centers of Iraq's partners the target of our attacks," Parliamentary Speaker Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was quoted by Tehran radio as saying.
Iran usually means Kuwait and sometimes Saudi Arabia when it refers to "Iraq's partners." Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have given Iraq substantial financial aid to continue the war.
Rafsanjani told a prayer meeting in Tehran the new policy was adopted because of "Kuwaiti-American impudence," a clear reference to the U.S. Navy's escort of Kuwaiti tankers after a series of Iranian attacks on shipping to and from Kuwait.
He repeated Iranian criticism of Monday's United Nations Security Council order for an immediate cease-fire in the Iran-Iraq war.
"Without the aggressor being brought to account, this war will not end," Rafsanjani said, referring to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
The radio, monitored in Nicosia, said Rafsanjani's sermon at Tehran University was greeted by swelling cries of "war, war to victory," "death to America, death to France" and "the Persian Gulf is Reagan's grave."
It said Rafsanjani broke into his sermon to announce that a mine had damaged one of two Kuwaiti tankers being escorted through the gulf by three U.S. warships. ical and military prestige.
"The U.S. schemes were foiled by invisible hands and it was proved how vulnerable the Americans are despite their huge and unprecedented military expedition in the Persian Gulf to escort Kuwaiti tankers," Mousavi said.
U.S. defense officials said they could not positively identify the mine but it was difficult to believe that it had been laid by anyone other than Iranians.
Rafsanjani said Iran had responded reasonably to what he said were provocative U.S. moves.
"If we had not acted intelligently, and like you (the United States) had got adventurous, what would have happened?" he asked.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati told a news conference in West Germany yesterday that Iran would not hit shipping in the gulf unless its own vessels were attacked first.
He said the U.N. cease-fire resolution was unacceptable and Iran would only discuss peace if Iraq was condemned for starting the war by invading Iran in 1980.
Rafsanjani told the crowd he believed the United States launched its gulf action to try to make up for domestic problems.
"America wants to compensate for its failed adventure of rapprochement with Iran and needs a quarrel," he said in reference to the Irangate scandal.
"It has staked out the gulf for this. America needs a show of bullying to appease the American people."
Rafsanjani said the United States, France and what he termed reactionary regional states had conspired with Iraq to try to prevent Iran exporting its oil through the Strait of Hormuz on the grounds that Tehran could not continue the war if it could not sell oil.
Iraqi warplanes had bombed Iran's main oil terminal at Kharg Island in the northern Gulf about 200 times, he said, "but the island is still standing as steadfast as a mountain."
He said Iran would keep the Strait of Hormuz open "and will maintain security there as long as she can use it."
Rafsanjani, according to IRNA, said Tehran was well aware that certain regional states, particularly Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, were selling oil for Iraq, that Iraqi warplanes flew through Kuaiti airspace and that Kuwaiti port facilities were at the disposal of Iraq.
"The Persian Gulf should be used by all or by none," he said. "If our ships are hit, we will hit ships and take retaliatory measures against Iraq's allies."
Rafsanjani said the United States, France and Britain -- all of which have warships in the gulf -- should stop Iraq from hitting Iran's tankers and oil fields, then Iran would guarantee the security of the region.