Ban calls on Teheran to halt violence

Lieberman: Iran clashes result of crazy regime; PM to German daily: Regime change would be good thing.

netanyahu knesset speech 248 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
netanyahu knesset speech 248 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called on Iranian authorities to end the violent reactions to protests held against the results of its national elections earlier this month. In a statement released by the UN Monday night, Ban pleaded from Teheran to halt "arrests, threats and the use of force" against civilians. Earlier, breaking 10-days of very measured statements on Iran, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had called on the UN Security Council to convene to discuss the Iranian situation, becoming one of the first international statesmen to call for UN involvement in the issue. Lieberman, who is currently in Ottawa, released a statement after a day of meetings there saying that he told his Canadian counterpart Lawrence Cannon that what has happened over the last few days in Iran was the result "of a crazy regime shooting at its citizens in the streets. Everyone needs to be clear about the danger of that type of regime holding nuclear weapons." "Without interfering in another country's internal affairs," Lieberman said, "the events in Iran over the last few days obligate a clear response from the international community, first of all to convene an emergency session of the UN Security Council." Lieberman's comments represent a significant ratcheting up of Israeli comments on the situation inside Iran. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in his second public pronouncement on Iran is as many days, was quoted in a German newspaper Monday as saying that friendly relations could be established with Iran if there were a regime change. In an interview published in the German newspaper Bild, Netanyahu - when asked whether a victory for Hossein Mussavi would be good news for Israel - replied: "What would be good news for Israel is a regime that stops crushing dissent, stops supporting terror and stops trying to build nuclear weapons. "It would mean a regime that stops denying the Holocaust and stops threatening Israel with destruction," he said. "There is no conflict between the Iranian people and the people of Israel and under a different regime the friendly relations that prevailed in the past could be restored." Israel and Iran enjoyed a friendly and constructive relationship prior to the overthrow of the Shah and establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979. On Sunday, in an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press," Netanyahu said that while Israel wanted a regime change, like most of the rest of the world, what was even more important was stopping Teheran's nuclear march. Netanyahu, in his interview with Bild, said that he believed the protests, and the way the Iranian regime was suppressing them, had "unmasked" the true nature of the Iranian regime. Netanyahu said that if the Iranian people had a free choice, he had no doubt they would opt for a different government. "What we have seen in Iran is a powerful desire on the part of the Iranian people to be free," he said. "Don't forget, Iranian elections are not like elections in Europe or Israel. First of all, the regime vets candidates. They eliminate those who are unacceptable to them in advance. This is a theocratic, totalitarian and brutal state that doesn't really give free choice to the Iranian people." Netanyahu, who on Tuesday is going for a three day visit to Rome and Paris, said it was important for Europe to "come to grips with the fact that this bellicose regime is seeking to develop nuclear weapons which will threaten the peace in the Middle East and also in the entire world." He said that one of the fears of a nuclear Iran is that it could give a "nuclear umbrella to terrorism, and possibly provide nuclear weapons to terrorists." A senior government official said that one of Israel's main concerns about a nuclear Iran is that it would embolden terrorist groups like Hizbullah and Hamas into taking a more extreme measures against Israel, believing that with a nuclear Iran behind them, Israel's response would be limited. Watch Netanyahu's interview with Meet The Press