At UN, Iran protests Israeli officials’ past statements on potential strike
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At UN, Iran protests Israeli officials’ past statements on potential strike

In letter written before US raid that killed top general, Tehran complains of ‘inflammatory’ and threatening statements from Jerusalem

Screen capture from video of Iran's ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi. (Twitter)
Screen capture from video of Iran's ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi. (Twitter)

Iran on Tuesday protested “inflammatory” and threatening statements from Israeli officials and called on the UN Security Council to hold Israel accountable.

Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi pointed to Foreign Minister Israel Katz saying in a December 6 interview that bombing Iran was “an option.” He also mentioned remarks by several Israeli defense officials who referenced a possible confrontation with Iran.

In the December interview with Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera, Katz was asked if a military strike on Iran were a possibility to curtail its nuclear program. “It’s an option. We will not allow Iran to produce or obtain nuclear weapons. If the only option left to us is the military option, we’ll act militarily,” he said.

Ravanchi’s letter to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was circulated Tuesday but was written December 27, before the US airstrike that killed Iran’s top general, Qassam Soleimani, sparking fears of retaliation against US ally Israel and other American targets.

Israel Katz attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on February 17, 2019. (Sebastian Scheiner/Pool/AFP)

Since then Iranian commanders have on several occasions threatened to target Israel to avenge the slain general, as Israel is seen as America’s leading ally in the region.

A senior commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has threatened that Tel Aviv could also be targeted, while a former head of the IRGC threatened to turn Israeli cities “to dust” if the US attacks targets in Iran.

Israel has raised alertness on its borders to prepare for a possible Iranian attack, though Israeli security chiefs have said retaliation against Israel is unlikely.

One senior official said Monday, “Israel was not involved in the killing and there’s no reason it will be dragged into it.”

The airstrike on Soleimani, who was head of Iran’s elite Quds Force and mastermind of its regional security strategy, has caused regional tensions to soar.

Following Soleimani’s killing, Tehran announced it would no longer abide by any of the limits of the unraveling 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, apparently ending an accord that blocked Tehran from having enough material to build an atomic weapon.

Iran insisted that it remains open to negotiations with European partners over its nuclear program. And it did not back off from earlier claims that it wouldn’t seek a nuclear weapon.

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