Iran: Israel Past the 'Red Line'
Israel has already breached its own red line set by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by acquiring "dozens of nuclear warheads," Iranian Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Saturday, the AFP news agency reports.
"If having the atomic bomb is passing the red line, the Zionist regime, that possesses dozens of nuclear warheads and weapons of mass destruction, has passed the red line years ago, and it has to be stopped," he said, according to the ISNA news agency.
Vahidi was responding to a speech by Netanyahu to the UN General Assembly this week in which -- using a cartoon bomb diagram -- the Israeli leader called for a "clear red line" to be applied to Iran's nuclear activities, which he charged are aimed at developing atomic weapons.
"Is the occupying and aggressor Zionist regime that possesses nuclear weapons more dangerous? Or an Iran that doesn't have nuclear weapons and which insists more than anybody on nuclear disarmament, and seeks only to have peaceful nuclear energy abiding by international rules," Vahidi asked.
Israel has maintained a policy of nuclear ambiguity, but is widely assumed to possess nuclear weapons.
It is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency but has never signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful and rejects Israel's accusations of military intent. However, Iranian leaders have repeatedly called to eliminate the Jewish state.