Iran asks U.N. to condemn Israeli nuclear program following airstrike

Iran has asked the United Nations to force Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF, REUTERS
September 20, 2018 09:08
3 minute read.
Iran asks U.N. to condemn Israeli nuclear program following airstrike

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a meeting with Muslim leaders and scholars in Hyderabad, India, February 15, 2018.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Iran's ambassador to the United Nations has asked the world body to condemn Israeli threats against Tehran and to bring Israel's nuclear program under its supervision in letters to UN Secretary-General António Guterres and the Security Council.

Gholam Ali Khoshrou, Iran's ambassador to the United Nations, has asked the United Nations to force Israel to join the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty and bring its nuclear program under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a UN atomic watchdog, Iranian state television reported. 

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Iran's condemnation follows an Israeli air strike Wednesday on a Syrian military facility which housed weapons systems that were about to be transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon from Iran, according to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit.

Following the Israeli strike near Latakia, Syria fired anti-aircraft missiles that hit a Russian IL-20 plane, killing all 15 airmen aboard. On Tuesday morning, Moscow accused Israel of using the Russian plane as cover to carry out the strikes, and said Israel had issued a warning of the impending operation only one minute beforehand.
Russia says Israel indirectly to blame for downed plane over Syria, September 18, 2018 (Reuters)

The downing of the Russian aircraft sparked the most serious crisis between Moscow and Jerusalem since Russia became militarily engaged in Syria three years ago, when a deconfliction mechanism was set up between the two countries to prevent any accidental mishaps in Syrian airspace.

Foreign media sources have long reported that Israel possesses a nuclear weapons arsenal, which Israel has publicly denied. 

However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a visit to a secretive atomic reactor in late August to warn the country’s enemies that it has the means to destroy them, in what appeared to be a veiled reference to its assumed nuclear arsenal.

Israel Atomic Energy Commission Director-General Ze'ev Snir also called for action concerning nuclear sites in the region at the 62nd General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday. 

"Iran and Syria pose significant proliferation threats to the region, and the world," Snir said. "Syria built an undeclared, secretive military nuclear reactor at Deir al-Zour. Such concealment of illicit activities, is a clear violation of the NPT and Syria's safeguards obligations. The IAEA and the international community should have taken action 10 years ago, and must take action now."

Snir also pleaded for strong actions against Iran, "The IAEA must conduct a robust verification of Iran's clandestine activities. The covert Iranian nuclear weapons program is a documented fact." 

Iranian officials have condemned Israel's "nuclear bombs" in the past.
In August, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif derided Israel for possessing "the only nuclear bombs in our region," along with the United States, calling "the former a habitual aggressor and the latter the sole user of nukes."

Israel is trying to lobby world powers to follow the US in exiting their 2015 deal with Iran, which capped the Islamic Republic’s nuclear capabilities in return for lifting of sanctions.

The Israelis deem the agreement insufficient for denying their arch-foe the means to eventually get the bomb - something that Tehran, which is a signatory to the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty, denies wanting.

Herb Keinon and Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.

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