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. Iran demands UN action to force Israel to forego nuclear wepons, sign NPT
UNITED NATIONS , Dec 19 (AFP) Dec 20, 2006
Iran on Tuesday urged the UN Security Council to condemn Israel's "clandestine development and possession of nuclear weapons" and to consider slapping sanctions if the Jewish state refuses to scrap its arsenal.

In a letter to Qatar's UN envoy Nasser Abdulaziz al-Nasser, the president of the Council for December, Iranian Ambassador Javad Zarif cited Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's apparent admission last week that Israel possesses nuclear weapons.

"The Israeli regime's clandestine development and possession of nuclear weapons not only violate basic principles of international law, the United Nations Charter, the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) and Security Council resolutions, but also clearly defy the demand of the overwhelming majority of UN member states," he said.

"Peace and security cannot be achieved in the Middle East while the massive Israeli nuclear arsenal continues to threaten the region and beyond," he added.

The Iranian envoy urged the 15-member council to "condemn the Israeli regime's clandestine development and possession of nuclear weapons, compel it to abandon nuclear weapons, urged it to accede to the NPT without delay, and demand that this regime place promptly all its nuclear facilities under IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) full-scope safeguards."

"Should the Israeli regime fail to do so, the council must take resolute action under Chapter Seven of the (UN) Charter (meaning sanctions) to ensure compliance," Zarif added.

Olmert's apparent admission breached the Jewish state's decades-long policy of nuclear ambiguity.

Under this policy, Israel, which is believed to have an arsenal of 200 nuclear weapons, would not carry out any nuclear tests and stay silent on the issue in order to prevent a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Olmert's statement threatened to undercut efforts by Israel and the West to prevent Iran from secretly trying to build nuclear arms under the cover of a civilian atomic power program.

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