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NUKEWARS
US pledges nuclear defence for Japan, S.Korea after N.Korea missile launch
by Staff Writers
Bonn (AFP) Feb 16, 2017


Iran says Israel 'biggest threat' to world peace
Tehran (AFP) Feb 16, 2017 - Iran said Thursday that Israel's atomic arsenal is the biggest danger to world peace, a day after US President Donald Trump vowed to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon.

Israel is the "biggest threat to the peace and security in the region and the world," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said, quoted by state news agency IRNA.

Trump had warned Wednesday after meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington that the "threat of Iran's nuclear ambitions" was one of the major security challenges facing Israel.

The US president told reporters that he would do "more to prevent Iran from ever developing -- I mean ever -- a nuclear weapon".

But Ghasemi dismissed the comments by Trump and Netanyahu comments as "nonsense".

"The bitter truth is that these unjust claims are being repeated by the Zionist regime that doesn't abide by any international laws and has hundreds of warheads in its atomic arsenal," Ghasemi said, referring to Israel.

Ghasemi said the United Nations' atomic watchdog had repeatedly confirmed the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme.

Israel is believed to be the Middle East's sole nuclear power but it has long refused to confirm or deny that it has such weapons.

A war of words has been escalating between Tehran and Washington since even before Trump took office in January.

Under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, the US and five other world powers reached a 2015 deal with Iran to lift sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.

Trump himself has repeatedly denounced the historic accord as "one of the worst deals I've ever seen".

The Islamic republic's archfoe Netanyahu has warned that the deal will expire too soon to permanently remove the threat.

Iran has consistently denied seeking nuclear weapons, saying its activities are exclusively for peaceful purposes such as power generation.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday pledged that Washington would use the full range of its arsenal, including nuclear weapons, to defend allies Japan and South Korea against North Korea if needed.

"The United States remains steadfast in its defence commitments to its allies, the Republic of Korea and Japan, including the commitment to provide extended deterrence, backed by the full range of its nuclear and conventional defence capabilities," Tillerson said in a joint statement after meeting the foreign ministers in Bonn.

North Korea has carried out repeated missile launches despite UN sanctions and last year conducted two nuclear tests in a bid to develop a weapons system capable of hitting the US mainland.

Pyongyang said the latest missile tested on Sunday could carry a nuclear warhead.

Seoul said the rocket travelled some 500 kilometres (300 miles) before it came down in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

The joint statement said Tillerson, South Korea's Yun Byung-Se and Japan's Fumio Kishida "condemned in the strongest terms" the test which was carried out in "flagrant disregard" for multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

The three countries would work together to ensure that further violations would be "met with an even stronger international response," it said, demanding that Pyongyang abandon its nuclear and missile programmes.

Shortly after the missile test, President Donald Trump said North Korea was a "a big, big problem... and we will deal with that very strongly."

Earlier this month on a trip to Seoul and Tokyo, US Defence Secretary James Mattis warned that "any use of nuclear weapons would be met with a response that would be effective and overwhelming."

The United States has had a major military presence in both Japan and South Korea for decades but its defence commitment also complicates relations with China, North Korea's main ally.

Washington's recent decision to install a sophisticated THAAD anti-missile system in South Korea especially angered China which sees it as a potential threat to its own security.


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