UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon repeated his call to Iran’s leaders to stop threatening Israel on Thursday, but Iran’s Supreme Leader nevertheless called Israelis “ferocious Zionist wolves who digest the Palestinian people. Ban remained seated throughout the duration of Khamenei's speech.
During his speech at the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran, Ban said, “I urge all NAM members to work within the principles of the UN Charter to resolve disputes peacefully. “
“But it is not sufficient to focus on lowering tensions between NAM countries, as important as that is,” he added. “We must prevent conflict between all UN member states.”
“And from this platform – as I have repeatedly stated around the world -- I strongly reject threats by any member state to destroy another or outrageous attempts to deny historical facts, such as the Holocaust,” said Ban.
“Claiming that another UN Member State, Israel, does not have the right to exist, or describing it in racist terms, is not only utterly wrong but undermines the very principles we have all pledged to uphold,” he emphasized.
Ban made similar comments during private meetings with Iran’s leaders on Wednesday.
His spokesman Martin Nesirky said that during meetings with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Secretary-General “strongly objected to recent remarks from Iranian officials denying the Holocaust and Israel’s right to exist. He said that such offensive and inflammatory statements were unacceptable and should be condemned by all.”
In his speech on Thursday, Ban also addressed Iran’s nuclear program, as a new report by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that Iran has increased its uranium enrichment capacity by at least 30% in the last four months.
“Assuming the leadership of the NAM provides Iran with the opportunity to demonstrate that it can play a moderate and constructive role internationally,” Ban said. “That includes responsible action on the nuclear program which is among the top concerns of the international community.”
“This concern has been demonstrated in repeated Security Council resolutions, including under Chapter VII authority, calling for transparency and full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” he added.
“For the sake of peace and security in this region and globally, I urge the Government of Iran to take the necessary measures to build international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program.”
“This can be done by fully complying with the relevant Security Council resolutions and thoroughly cooperating with the IAEA.”
“I urge, also, constructive engagement with the P5+1 to quickly reach a diplomatic solution.”
Khamenei announced during his NAM speech that Iran would never abandon its peaceful nuclear program. “Our motto is ‘Nuclear energy for all, nuclear weapons for no one,’” he said.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman strongly condemned the remarks made by Iran’s leaders against Israel.
Speaking during an event attended by Japan’s ambassador to Israel, Lieberman termed the Tehran summit “a march of folly, the likes of which we only saw in the 1930s.”
“It is very unfortunate to hear those things coming out of Tehran today,” Lieberman said. “In the background of the threats and the curses and the calls to destroy the State of Israel, wipe it off the map and hurt all the Jews wherever they are, we see representatives of 120 countries, including the UN Secretary General, who come to Tehran and give legitimacy to this regime.”
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced on Thursday that he will address the UN General Assembly next month in New York.
“In Tehran today, the representatives of 120 countries heard a blood libel against the State of Israel and were silent,” Netanyahu said. “This silence must stop. Therefore, I will go to the UN General Assembly and, in a clear voice, tell the nations of the world the truth about Iran's terrorist regime, which constitutes the greatest threat to world peace.”