Thursday, February 21, 2008

Iran's U.N. Ambassador attacks Israel

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran urged the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday to condemn Israel's recent warning that it had not ruled out using military force against the country's nuclear program.

In a letter to the council, Iran's U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazee referred to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's Jan. 14 warning that all options were on the table when it comes to keeping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

It was Olmert's clearest sign yet that he would be willing to use force to counter what Israel sees as a threat to its existence. Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has said the Holocaust is a "myth" and called for Israel's elimination.

Khazee insisted in the letter that Iran's nuclear program is peaceful and called Israel's statements "unacceptable and unjustifiable." He said they were a "flagrant violation" of international law and the U.N. Charter, which calls on countries to refrain "from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state."

"The Security Council should react to these threats by unambiguously condemning them and calling on the said regime to cease and desist immediately from the threat of using force against members of the United Nations," he said.

Israel's U.N. Ambassador Dan Gillerman called the letter, which was also sent to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, "disgusting and dangerous."

"For a country whose leader describes a member state of the United Nations as a dirty microbe and a savage animal, to complain about others' statements is the height of hypocrisy," he said.

"And coming from a country which is the world's major sponsor and exporter of terror, it is a letter which the recipients, be it the Security Council or the secretary-general, should not even honor by acknowledging," Gillerman said.

Iran, which insists its nuclear program is purely for civilian purposes, has already been slapped with two rounds of U.N. sanctions over its refusal to stop uranium enrichment. The Security Council will soon start considering a third round of sanctions.

On Wednesday, Ahmadinejad said Iran has brought world powers "to their knees" by defying the sanctions.


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