Against rising global concerns over an ominous military conflict on the horizon, Iran hit back fiercely at the scathing anti-Tehran speech of Israeli Prime Ministerat the United Nations, by demanding that Jerusalem first unlock its own nuclear installations for international inspection before demanding it from Tehran.
Iran’s deputy U.N. ambassador, Eshagh Al-Habib, using the U.N.’s “right of reply,” told the General Assembly on Thursday that the Israeli prime minister “has (himself) admitted to the possession of nuclear weapons.” According to Al-Habib, this fact has been frequently affirmed even by the Non-Aligned Movement’s 120 member nations as something which “poses a serious and continuing threat to the security of states in the region.”
Al-Habib blasted Israel for disregarding repeated calls of the “international community to accede promptly and without any conditions to the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapons party and place all its nuclear-related facilities under the International Atomic Energy Agency verification system.” The international community must not stop exerting “the utmost pressure” on Netanyahu regime, exhorted Al-Habib.
The Iranian envoy bemoaned that Israel was now making “baseless and absurd allegations” against Iran’s “exclusively peaceful” nuclear program. Despite this, if Israel is planning on striking Iran, the Islamic Republic "is strong enough to defend itself and reserves its full right to retaliate with full force against any attack," the Iranian ambassador vowed.
The sharp Iranian attack, in which it also accused Israel of being behind the murder of several of its nuclear scientists, was in response to a Netanyahu’s speech at the General Assembly earlier in the day, in which the Israeli leader emphasized that the only way to stop Iran reaching its goal of making atomic bombs was by placing a “clear red line” over its nuclear weapons program.
Netanyahu declared that by the end of 2013 Iran would have adequate enriched uranium to be on the "brink" of making a nuclear bomb. He went on to warn: "Nothing could imperil our future more than an Iran armed with nuclear weapons."
The Iranians have long claimed to be sponsoring a movement to free the Middle East of any atomic weapons. On the other hand, its archrival Israel’s conventional army is hugely outnumbered by the neighboring Arab nation’s forces. Hence it seems to believe that its (secret) stockpile of nuclear arsenal will be an equalizer in the event of a new conflict erupting in the volatile Middle Eastern region.
Reportedly, Jerusalem has a stockpile of more than 200 low-yield nuclear warheads, which its own technocrats have manufactured, housed in its desert facility in the Negev. Random visits have been made by U.N. nuclear inspectors to this facility near the village of Dimona. However, nothing concrete has been discovered so far.
Saddam Hussein, the late Iraqi dictator, tried to bomb the Dimona facility in the 1991 Gulf War but was not successful in destroying it. Presently, this base is fortified by the Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile system. The Patriot missile system was first launched during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, which was followed by the Iron Dome system.
Meanwhile, at the U.N., a bunch of Israeli diplomats sat expressionless throughout the sharp rebuttal by Al-Habib. They decided not to challenge the Iranian position. The American U.N. mission chose to stay away from the late-night General Assembly session.
Earlier, Catherine Ashton, the European Union foreign policy chief, informed that major powers had discussed the need for Iran to take action without further delay on its nuclear program. As someone who negotiates on behalf of the international powers with Iran, Aston said, "I will, from that meeting, now be in touch again with Iran to continue this process."
Ashton was speaking to the media at the U.N. after her talks with the foreign ministers from the permanent members of the Security Council, namely the U.S., France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany.
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