Shalom: UN must act now on Iran

Tells Jewish parliamentarians there is "no more time for games."

shalom pensive 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
shalom pensive 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The United Nations must urgently impose economic sanctions on Iran for continuing its nuclear program before the world wakes up to a nuclear nightmare, Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said Monday. "The issue of Iran should be immediately transferred to the United Nations and sanctions imposed on Iran," Shalom told a group of Jewish parliamentarians from around the world meeting in Jerusalem. The foreign minister noted that Israeli experts believe that Iran was six months away from acquiring the know-how to make a nuclear bomb, warning the world that "time was running out" and that there was "no more time for games" in dealing with the critical issue of Iran's nuclear program. "The question is not when they will have this bomb but when they will have the full knowledge to develop this bomb," he said. His comments came just days after Iran threw years-old on-again off-again negotiations over its nuclear program into disarray by abruptly canceling a high-level meeting with the United Nations' nuclear watchdog agency in Vienna and vowing to press ahead with its nuclear program starting Monday. "We cannot let such a tyranny decide when to blow up the whole world," Shalom added. "Iran's nuclear program is no longer just Israel's problem but the world's problem." At the same time, the foreign minister noted that Israel was not advocating expelling Iran from the United Nations in the wake of the remarks made by the extremist Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that Israel should be "wiped off the map," since such a move could be then be used by radical Arab and Muslim nations at the UN against Israel. In November, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) again put off referral of Iran to the UN Security Council, in an effort to secure Russian and even Chinese support on the Iranian issue. The Iranian President has repeatedly insisted that Iran has the right to conduct nuclear research, and would do so despite repeated warnings from the international community over punitive measures. In his address, the foreign minister also reiterated his position that a victory - or even a sizeable vote - for Hamas in the upcoming Palestinian legislative elections will bring "catastrophe" to the region and end any hopes of peace. "If they win, even 35 or 40 percent, it will move us backwards 50 years," he said. Palestinian public opinion polls have indicated that Hamas is poised to win at least one-third of the vote in the scheduled Palestinian elections later this month, with some forecasting an even larger victory for the Palestinian terror organization in the January 25 vote.