Livni: Israel won't ignore Iran threat

FM says Israel was founded to shield Jews and assure their independence.

ali larijani 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
ali larijani 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Tuesday that Israel would not "turn a blind eye" to the Iranian threat, and would not allow the horrific fate of the Jews during the Holocaust to be repeated in the situation in Iran. Livni stated that Israel was following Iran's nuclear technology developments, as well as the Holocaust denials of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
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Livni said that the international community was addressing the Iranian nuclear crisis and that the UN Security Council would discuss it soon. The foreign minister added that Israel was founded, among other things, in order to shield Jews and assure that their lives would not be dependant on other countries' decisions. Regarding the terrorist bombing in Egypt, Livni said that the Arab world now understood that the threat of Islamic terror was targeted not only towards the west, but also towards its own countries, Israel Radio Reported. Earlier Tuesday, Iran's top nuclear negotiator said that Iran would withdraw from all cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog agency if the UN Security Council imposes sanctions against it. The statements by Ali Larijani came a day after Iran's president - facing a Friday UN deadline to stop uranium enrichment - boldly predicted the Security Council would not impose sanctions on Tehran and warned he was thinking about dropping out of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Larijani, speaking to an international conference on Iran's energy program, said flatly that if the Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran, the country would suspend its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, which oversees compliance with the nonproliferation treaty. "If UN Security council sanctions are to be imposed on Iran, we will suspend our cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency," Larijani said. "They (the Western countries on the IAEA board) have to understand they cannot resolve this issue through force," he said. Iran's former President, Hashemi Rafsanjani, speaking at the same conference, claimed that Iran had openly launched its nuclear program - which Iran insists is for peaceful energy purposes only - "but the behavior of western countries forced it to carry out its nuclear program independently, based on local expertise and knowledge without relying on western countries." The government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insists the nonproliferation treaty gives Iran the right to enrich uranium for fueling civilian nuclear power plants, and he has given no ground in the international face-off. The fiery Ahmadinejad said Monday he was reconsidering Iran's adherence to the nonproliferation treaty, which is aimed at stopping the spread of atomic weapons while allowing peaceful uses of nuclear energy. "What has more than 30 years of membership in the agency given us?" he asked at the news conference, which was only the second one at which foreign journalists have been allowed to ask questions, since he took office last year. The United States and members are urging the Security Council to take a tougher stance by imposing a mandatory order for Iran to halt enrichment, a move that would raise the threat of sanctions. Russia and China, which are among the five permanent members that can veto council actions, have opposed that approach, saying diplomacy has not run its course. Ahmadinejad appears to be banking on their support to dissuade Washington from pressing a sanctions vote.