“The Israeli ruling clan, who are war drum beaters, use the pretext of Iranian nuclear threat for all political gains,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Monday evening.
“The statements on attacking Iran, for whatever reasons it may be, is against regional and international peace and security,” he added.
Mr. Salehi said Iranians would never start a war, but will use all means to defend themselves.
U.S. officials have been alarmed by Israeli threats to launch a preemptive strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. The Obama administration, while not specifically discussing a military strike, has said that all options are on the table.
Iran is working with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the 5+1 — the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany — to address concerns about its nuclear program, said Mr. Salehi.
Unlike Iran, Israel is not a party to any international disarmament conventions and is a “major impediment for the Middle East to be declared a nuclear-free zone,” said Mr. Salehi, who was educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Israel, he added, “is the most significant source of instability and insecurity in the region and, indeed, a liability for American Middle Eastern policy.”
Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in his address to the U.N. General Assembly, complained about threats of military action from Israel and intimidation by nuclear-armed “hegemonic powers.”
The next day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the U.N. to place a red line on Iran’s efforts to enrich uranium. He warned that Iran could have a nuclear bomb by as early as next spring.
International concerns over Iran’s nuclear program are a political issue, which requires a political solution, he said. “We have not lost hope, neither us, nor the 5 + 1,” he added.View Entire Story
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Ashish Kumar Sen is a reporter covering foreign policy and international developments for The Washington Times.
Prior to joining The Times, Mr. Sen worked for publications in Asia and the Middle East. His work has appeared in a number of publications and online news sites including the British Broadcasting Corp., Asia Times Online and Outlook magazine.
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