Iran appeals to UN over US sanctions

Ambassador says measures are a threat to all third-world countries.

Bushehr Plant 311 (photo credit: Associated Press)
Bushehr Plant 311
(photo credit: Associated Press)
WASHINGTON – Iran has complained to top officials at the United Nations about American threats of military action against the country, declaring that Teheran will respond to any such attack.
In letters to the heads of the UN Security Council and General Assembly circulated on Wednesday, Iran’s acting UN ambassador Eshagh Alehabib slammed US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen for having “threatened” to use force against Iran on the “totally false” grounds that Iran was building nuclear weapons.
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Mullen recently acknowledged that the US had drawn up plans to attack Iran, though he believes a military strike would probably be a bad idea.
Iran is also calling on the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to help Teheran in the face of sanctions imposed by the Security Council over the Islamic Republic’s refusal to stop enriching uranium.
Iran’s IAEA Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh was quoted as saying Wednesday that the IAEA should defend Iran, since it knows that the country has been cooperating with the UN agency to show goodwill and transparency.
IAEA observers are slated to supervise Saturday’s planned loading of fuel into Iran’s Bushehr reactor, as Russia has announced it will be providing a long-delayed fuel supply that will allow Iran to start up its first nuclear reactor.
On Tuesday, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton warned that Israel would need to take military action before the loading of fuel took place, lest it risk dispersing nuclear radiation in an attack.
“The element of surprise was essentially taken away” with the Russian announcement about Saturday’s move, Bolton told The Jerusalem Post .
He added, “If Israel was right to destroy the Osirak reactor [in Iraq], is it right to allow this one to continue? You can’t have it both ways.”
But Trita Parsi, president of the Washington-based National Iranian American Council, said Wednesday that he didn’t think an Israeli attack was imminent.
“I do not foresee, personally, that in the short term – meaning in the next two years – that there is necessarily a very imminent threat of military action, including by Israel,” he said during an event at the Middle East Institute, where he is also an adjunct scholar.
Michael Singh, who, like Bolton, served in the George W.
Bush administration, agreed that the situation hadn’t yet reached a point of decision between attacking Iran or accepting its nuclear posture.
“I do think there is still a window for a negotiated solution, for diplomacy to work,” said Singh, a former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council.
But Singh, who appeared with Parsi at the MEI, said that for diplomacy to be effective, there needed to be a credible threat of force on the table.
“Iranian officials are making a cost-benefit analysis, and they see that at the end of this process is possible military action, and they reason backwards from that,” said Singh. “I think that makes it more likely, rather than less likely, [they’ll] take whatever deal might be on the table.”
Parsi, however, warned that the nature of the debate over the possibility of military force could make an attack more likely.
He described an effort “to frame the issue not as to whether Iran will or will not be bombed, but frame it as to who will bomb Iran – the US or Israel.” He concluded, “One of the surest ways of ensuring that the Iranians will do anything to go for a nuclear bomb is to bomb them.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.