In appeal to UN, Iran cites US ‘threat’
Envoy objects to Mullen remark
UNITED NATIONS — Iran took its case against the United States to the United Nations yesterday and strongly condemned the top US military chief for saying military action remains a possibility if the country develops nuclear weapons.
Iran’s acting UN ambassador, Eshagh Alehabib, said in letters circulated to the secretary general and presidents of the Security Council and General Assembly that Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and other US officials and lawmakers threatened to use military action under the “totally false’’ pretense that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
Mullen said earlier this month that the US military has a plan to attack Iran, although he thinks a military strike is probably a bad idea. Still, he said the risk of Iran developing a nuclear weapon is unacceptable and he reiterated that “the military option’’ remains on the table.
Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, warned yesterday that Iran’s response to an attack would not be limited to the region, suggesting Iran would target US interests beyond the Persian Gulf.
“It’s unlikely that they [the United States] will make such a stupidity [to attack Iran], but all must know that if this threat is carried out, the field of the Iranian nation’s confrontation will not be only our region,’’ Khamenei told state television. “The area of confrontation will be much wider.’’
He also said there will be no talks with the United States under the shadow of threats.
Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters in Iran, apparently was referring to recent calls by the United States and other key powers for Iran to resume talks on its nuclear program following the UN Security Council’s recent vote imposing a fourth set of sanctions against the country for refusing to halt uranium enrichment.
The United States and some of its allies accuse Iran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover to build nuclear weapons. Iran has denied the allegations, saying its nuclear program is geared merely toward generating electricity, not bombs.
Alehabib said the United States was using threatening language that violates international law and the UN Charter and goes against “global efforts to strengthen regional and international peace and security.’’ He reiterated that Iran “would not hesitate to act in self-defense to respond to any attack.’’
Khamenei said negotiations would be possible if the United States stops making threats against Iran, and he set conditions for it.
“If the US puts aside threats, sanctions, and its superpower display and refuses to set goals for the talks, then there will be a possibility of talks. But under the present conditions and given the threats and pressures, no talks will be held at all,’’ Khamenei was quoted as saying.
Khamenei also said Iran will not give up its nuclear activities.
“The US and some Western countries have no logic in this issue and the Islamic Republic of Iran will never give up the cycle of nuclear fuel,’’ state television quoted him as saying.
The United States and five key powers — Russia, China, Britain, France, and Germany — have been trying to revive talks with Iran on its nuclear program and have offered a package of incentives if Tehran freezes uranium enrichment and resumes negotiations.
In late July, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran said nuclear talks with the six powers would start in early September, regardless of conditions he set in June, but Khamenei’s comments raise questions about the timetable. Iran has also said it wants to revive separate talks involving Tehran, Washington, Paris, and Moscow on a fuel swap for Tehran’s research nuclear reactor.