Iran: UN should condemn Israel's clandestine nuclear weapons

By The Associated Press

Haaretz

Kislev 29, 5767

Iran demanded Tuesday that the United Nations Security Council condemn what it said was Israel's clandestine development and possession of nuclear weapons.

Javad Zarif, Iran's ambassador to the UN, said in identical letters to the council and to the secretary-general that the Security Council should "condemn Israeli regime's clandestine development and possession of nuclear weapons, compel it to abandon nuclear weapons, [and] urge it to accede" to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Zarif said the Security Council should demand that all of Israel's nuclear facilities be subject to inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency and be placed under its safeguards program.

"Should the Israeli regime fail to do so, the council must take resolute action under Chapter 7 of the Charter to ensure compliance," he said.

Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which authorizes a range of measures from diplomatic and economic sanctions to military action.

Iran insists its own nuclear program is purely peaceful to develop nuclear energy, but the United States and many European nations believe Tehran's real aim in enriching uranium is to produce nuclear weapons.

The Security Council is currently debating a resolution that would impose sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend its enrichment program.

Zarif said in the letters that the council's actions would show whether it was acting under the UN Charter or as "a tool" for a few permanent members who have encouraged Israel "to persist in its lawless behavior with impunity."

The statement may be in reference to the U.S., Israel's closest ally, which would almost certainly veto any council resolution on Israel's nuclear program.

Zarif said Israel was the only obstacle to establishing a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East.

"Peace and stability cannot be achieved in the Middle East while the massive Israeli nuclear arsenal continues to threaten the region and beyond," he said.

Zarif said Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's recent comments in a German television interview constituted not only a public admission of the country's nuclear weapons but a public boast of how dangerous they are.

Israel has a long-standing policy of ambiguity on nuclear weapons, refusing to confirm or deny whether it has them. But in the German TV interview broadcast December 12, Olmert listed Israel among countries that possess nuclear weapons.

Israel's UN Mission had no immediate comment on Zarif's letters.

The Iranian ambassador insisted in the letters, obtained by the Associated Press, that Olmert's comments were a clear admission that Israel possessed nuclear weapons in violation of international law, the UN Charter, and numerous Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.

"Nuclear weapons in the hands of a regime with an unparalleled record of noncompliance with Security Council resolutions and a long and dark catalogue of crimes and atrocities such as occupation, aggression, militarism, state-terrorism, and crimes against humanity, poses a uniquely grave threat to regional as well as international peace and security," Zarif claimed.

He called on the council to fulfill its responsibility under the UN Charter "to address such a clear and serious threat to international peace and security."