Iran Seeks Condemnation of Israeli Nukes


UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Iran demanded Tuesday that the U.N. Security Council
condemn what it said was Israel's clandestine development of nuclear weapons
and "compel" it to place all its nuclear facilities under U.N. inspection.

If Israel refuses to comply, Iran said the council must take "resolute
action" under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter which authorizes a range of
measures from diplomatic and economic sanctions to military action.

Iran insists its own nuclear program is a purely peaceful effort to develop
energy, but the United States and many European nations believe Tehran's
real aim in enriching uranium is to produce nuclear weapons. The Security
Council is currently debating a resolution that would impose sanctions on
Iran for refusing to suspend its enrichment program.

Iran's U.N. Ambassador Javad Zarif said in identical letters to the council
and the secretary-general that the council's actions would show whether it
was acting under the U.N. Charter or as "a tool" for a few permanent members
who have encouraged Israel "to persist in its lawless behavior with

The reference appeared aimed at the United States, Israel's closest ally,
which would almost certainly veto any council resolution on Israel's nuclear

Zarif said that Israel was the only obstacle to establishing a nuclear
weapons-free zone in the Middle East.

Israel has a longstanding policy of ambiguity on nuclear weapons, refusing
to confirm or deny whether it has them. But in the German TV interview
broadcast Dec. 12, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert listed Israel among countries
that possess nuclear weapons.

Olmert's comments - which his office said were misinterpreted - came days
after Robert Gates, who took over Monday as U.S. defense secretary, said in
testimony to a Senate committee that Israel was a member of the club of
nuclear-armed nations.

Israel's U.N. Mission had no immediate comment on Zarif's letters.

The Iranian ambassador insisted in the letters, obtained by the Associated
Press, that Olmert's comments were a clear admission that Israel possessed
nuclear weapons in violation of international law, the U.N. Charter and
numerous Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.