Iran Complains to UN Security Council about Israel's Threat

Iran complains to the UN Security Council after Minister Sha'ul Mofaz warned Israel would attack to prevent a nuclear existential threat.

Hana Levi Julian and Hillel Fendel ,

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Israel News Photo: (file photo)

Iran appealed to the United Nations Security Council on Saturday for protection from Israel after Transportation Minister Sha'ul Mofaz commented that Israel would move to end the nuclear threat if necessary.

The former Defense Minister was quoted Friday in the Hebrew-language Yediot Acharonot newspaper as saying that military action might necessary in order to stop Iran's from achieving nuclear power. 

"If Iran continues with its program for developing nuclear weapons, we will attack it," Mofaz said simply. "The sanctions are ineffective. Attacking Iran in order to stop its nuclear plans will be unavoidable." 

The threat is not new, however. In a meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice exactly one year ago, Mofaz suggested that Israel might use military force against Iran. "If sanctions don't work within half a year," Mofaz said, "we will have to consider other ways, including the military option."

Mofaz Blamed for Soaring Oil Prices
Mofaz's words drew criticism and reactions from several angles.  Globes reported that American analysts blamed Mofaz's threats for record oil prices, with rates reaching $138 a barrel.  The thinking is that his words reminded the oil market participants of the fear of war in the Middle East.

MK Yuval Shteinitz (Likud) accused Mofaz of irresponsibility. "It is sad that the political needs of Mofaz and Olmert cause them to unleash the sharpness of their tongues regarding issues that should remain quiet," he said.

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai (Labor) similarly said, "The worst thing is when narrow political interests affect strategic issues of the first-degree."

White House spokesperson Donna Perino said, "The U.S. understands Israel's concern regarding the Iranian nuclear program," but said that President Bush remains committed to a diplomatic solution "without ever having removed any other options from consideration."

IAEA Responds, Admits Iran is Uncooperative
The head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammed El-Baradei, had indirect criticism for Mofaz - as well as the Islamic Republic.  El-Baradei told the German Der Spiegel newspaper that "with unilateral military actions, countries are undermining international agreements... We are at a historic turning point."

The head of the nuclear watchdog agency noted, however, that "the readiness of Iran's side to cooperate leaves a lot to be desired."  He added that the Iranian government "is sending a message to the entire world: We can build a bomb in a relatively short time."

Sanctions Not Working
International sanctions against the Islamic Republic have failed to impact the country's uranium enrichment program, which continues apace despite a UN Security Council mandate demanding Iran cease its nuclear development activities.

Israel, the US and a number of other nations are convinced the Islamic Republic is engaged in building a nuclear weapon, which Jerusalem believes would be used to annihilate the Jewish State.

Iran Complains Against Israel
"Such a dangerous threat against a sovereign state and a member of the United Nations constitutes a manifest violation of international law and contravenes the most fundamental principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and thus, requires a resolute and clear response on the part of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council," read Iran's complaint to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

The letter, released Saturday by Iranian UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee, said that Israel "poses the most immediate and serious threat that the world and the region are facing."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed repeatedly to "wipe the Zionist entity off the map," most recently during a June 2 speech in which he promised Israel "will soon disappear off the geographical scene."