UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Thursday for a diplomatic solution to
the nuclear standoff with Tehran, in an apparent reaction to media speculation
that Israel might attack Iran’s atomic facilities.
“[Ban] reiterates his
call for Iran’s compliance with all relevant resolutions of the Security Council
and the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” UN
spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters. “The secretary-general reiterates his
belief that a negotiated rather than a military solution is the only way to
resolve this issue.”
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Ban’s position is that “the onus is on Iran to prove
the peaceful nature of its nuclear program,” Nesirky said.
States and Israel have refused to rule out any option to prevent the Islamic
Republic from acquiring a nuclear arsenal.
Israel appealed to the
international community on Thursday to halt Iran’s nuclear program by speedily
issuing much stiffer sanctions against Tehran.
Its emissaries in world
capitals were given information regarding the International Atomic Energy Agency
report released on Tuesday, which said that Tehran had worked to design nuclear
bombs. The Foreign Ministry instructed the emissaries to talk with their
counterparts about introducing harsh economic measures against Iran.
report shows how Iran has violated all agreements and has worked over the years
to develop components for a nuclear weapon, said Yoaz Hendel, director for
communication and public diplomacy at the Prime Minister’s
“Israel expects the world to take immediate action to stop Iran’s
nuclear progress and to prevent this threat to the world.”
On Sunday, the
cabinet will discuss the report, in advance of an IAEA board meeting in Vienna
next Thursday and Friday.
Israel expects the issue will then move to the
UN Security Council for action, despite Russia’s and China’s objections to
additional sanctions on Tehran by that body.
The White House said on
Thursday that this week’s IAEA report was “very alarming” and that the US would
continue to pressure Tehran to “change its behavior.”
“They need to get
right with the world and live up to their obligations with regards to their
nuclear program. We will continue to pursue that going forward in the wake of
this very alarming report,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
France has spoken out strongly in the past few days in
support of Israel and the need for sanctions against Iran.
“We have to
act quickly in the United Nations and the European Union to tackle this very
serious threat,” French Ambassador Christophe Bigot told Channel 1 on
“Israel is not alone on this issue,” said Bigot, whose country
is one of the 15 Security Council members. “The clock is ticking” on Iran’s
nuclear program and a way must be found to prevent it, he said.
and a lot of countries are with Israel on the issue of increased sanctions, he
“We will do it with, or without Russia and China.”
told Channel 1 that if as a last resort Israel decides to attack Iran, “we
understand such a move.”
Both Russia and China, which have veto power at
the Security Council, have expressed reservations about imposing additional
Since 2006, the council has adopted six resolutions demanding
that Iran halt its nuclear enrichment program, four of them imposing sanctions
on the Islamic Republic.
In the past, the US and the EU have separately
imposed sanctions of their own.
At a meeting in Moscow, Russian and
Chinese diplomats expressed “the mutual conviction that the application of new,
additional sanctions against Iran will not lead to the desired
With UN sanctions uncertain, the European Union is looking to
take further economic steps of its own against Iran.
Brussels said preliminary discussions among EU capitals on new measures had
begun and plans may be ready for EU foreign ministers in Brussels to approve on
“Experts are discussing a number of options on the table, but
it is difficult to foresee the outcome of the debate,” one EU diplomat said.
Another said he expected a formal decision to be reached on December
Still, some EU governments are wary of inflicting economic pain on the
Iranian people or of closing potential communication channels by targeting
Iranian officials. Others fret about the damage oil sanctions could do to their
own economic interests.
A senior Iranian official warned Israel on
Thursday that a military strike against Iran would create a threat to its own
“If the Zionist regime allows itself such an oversight, a
question of its existence will arise – not a question of its legitimacy but a
question of its existence,” Ali Baqeri, deputy secretary of Iran’s Supreme
National Security Council, said through an interpreter during a visit to
Baqeri’s remarks echoed a warning by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali
, who said military action against Iranian nuclear sites would be met
with “iron fists,” Iranian state television reported.
Baqeri said Iran
does not believe Israel will launch an attack, saying the Zionist state “is in
the worst condition since its creation... in political, economic and social
terms, and in terms of security issues.”
He said “the people of these
countries [in the Middle East] want to chase Israel from the region. And so now
the Zionist regime has very many weak points.”