Iran Urges World Action on Israeli Nukes; Russia Urges U.N. to Push Israel Over Peace
Iran says Israel’s undeclared arsenal of approximately 200 atomic warheads is the only obstacle in the way of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.
In a Monday address to the third session of the preparatory committee for the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York, Iranian delegates hit out at the lack of world action on Israel’s possession of atomic nuclear weapons — which can be launched from land, sea and air.
According to the delegates, the Israeli military’s indiscriminate and deliberate use of white phosphorus shells against Palestinian civilians shows that “Tel Aviv is not fit to possess nuclear weapons”.
“Israel’s nuclear arsenal represents the single greatest threat to countries in the region,” said the delegates, while criticizing the West’s hands-off approach to Tel Aviv’s development of nuclear weaponry.
“Washington echelons and their European counterparts actually helped equip Israel with nuclear weaponry, in complete violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” the delegation asserted.
Israel is widely regarded as the sixth-largest nuclear power in the world and the sole possessor of an atomic arsenal in the Middle East. It reportedly houses at least 100 bunker-busting bombs, which come in the form of laser-guided mini-nukes with the ability of penetrating underground targets.
Over the past decades, U.S. presidents have largely colluded with Israel’s so-called policy of nuclear opacity.
Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has revealed that former U.S. president Richard Nixon and his chief foreign policy adviser Henry Kissinger privately endorsed Israel’s atomic arsenal in 1969 and banned any inspection of its Dimona nuclear center.
Although Tel Aviv was not a signatory to the NPT, the U.S. leadership went on to to provide it with advanced weapons such as krytrons (nuclear triggers) and supercomputers.
The Iranian delegation called for a non-discriminatory disarmament process, saying the West’s silence on Israeli nuclear weapons sends a negative message about double standards.
Russia suggests the U.N. Security Council has to pursue ‘vigorous’ diplomacy to oblige Israel to work with international community for creating a Palestinian state.
Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, who chairs the 15-member Security Council this month, has called for a Council meeting to stress the “urgency of reaching comprehensive peace in the Middle East.”
Foreign ministers of Russia, Britain, France, Turkey and Austria as well as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon will participate in the Security Council open debate on Monday.
The meeting comes as the new Israeli government headed by the hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shuns international calls to resume the Middle East peace process.
The new Israeli government has so far refused the Palestinian’s right to establish an independent state.
“Vigorous diplomatic action is needed to attain the goal set by the international community,” said a preliminary draft statement Russia wants the council to adopt unanimously.
The draft statement also calls for “Lasting peace in the region, based on an enduring commitment to mutual recognition, freedom from violence, incitement and terror, and the two-state solution, building upon previous agreements and obligations.”
Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, on Monday promised the Egyptian president that he would restart peace talks with the Palestinians “as soon as possible”, in an attempt to calm Arab concerns over his policies ahead of a crucial Israeli-U.S. summit next week.
“We want to renew the peace negotiations with the Palestinians as soon as possible and I hope they will indeed resume in the coming weeks,” Mr Netanyahu said after talks in Sharm El Sheikh with Hosni Mubarak. “We want Israelis and Palestinians alike to live in peace, security and prosperity. The three things go together and not one at the expense of the other.”
However, the Israeli leader once again left open what kind of final peace deal with the Palestinians he has in mind and again stopped short of endorsing a two-state solution, the cornerstone of all recent efforts to end the conflict. Israeli officials say Mr Netanyahu will provide details of his new approach to regional peacemaking at the earliest in his meeting with Barack Obama, US president, in Washington on Monday.
Senior US administration officials, including Mr Obama himself, have repeatedly made clear they see the creation of an independent Palestinian state as the only way to achieve peace in the region.
This has led to widespread speculation that the new rightwing Israeli government headed by Mr Netanyahu could face a much chillier relationship with its most important ally than his predecessors have enjoyed. >>>