UN: Attack on Iran a Crime. US Commander: Count Me Out!
September 2, 2012
Human Wrongs Watch & Russia Today
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned warlike statements aimed at Iran by officials in Israel, the UK and the US, noting that "threats by any Member State to destroy or delegitimize another" would constitute an act of aggression, a violation of international law. In London, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has told reporters that he is against US participation in any Israeli-led attack on Iran. "I don't want to be complicit," he told the press.
UN Chief Condemns in Iran 'Threats by Any Member State to Destroy Another'
Human Wrongs Watch
In a message implicitly addressed to Iran for its repeated threats against Israel and which might also have been indirectly referring to Tel Aviv's reported plans to launch a military attack on Iran, the UN chief condemned in Tehran "threats by any Member State to destroy or delegitimize another."
(September 1, 2012) -- Taking note of the latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran's nuclear programme, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has emphasized the need for diplomacy in resolving the country's nuclear issue, a United Nations spokesperson said on 31 August.
"It is regrettable that Iran has yet to reach agreement with the IAEA on a plan to resolve all outstanding issues," the spokesperson told a news briefing at UN Headquarters in New York.
"The Secretary-General emphasizes that there can only be a diplomatic and negotiated solution to the Iranian nuclear issue which should be pursued through a reciprocal, step-by-step process," the spokesperson added.
"This must include measures by Iran aimed at building international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme," the UN reported.
Non-Aligned Movement Summit
According to media reports, a leaked quarterly report from the IAEA notes that Iran has doubled the number of uranium enrichment centrifuges it has in an underground bunker.
The Iranian nuclear issue was a topic of discussion in the UN chief's various meetings in Tehran, where he attended the 16th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). Both Israel and the United States had objected Ban's participation in the Tehran summit, according to reports.
The Summit, under the chairmanship of the Government of Iran, began in the Iranian capital on Sunday and ended on Friday, and drew representatives from its 120 members, as well as from various associated observer countries.
"The Secretary-General used the opportunity of his participation in the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement to convey the clear concerns and expectations of the international community on this matter," the spokesperson told the news briefing.
Iran's nuclear activities have been of international concern since the discovery, in 2003, that Iran had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years, in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, says the UN.
Iran has repeatedly stated that its nuclear programme is for the peaceful purpose of providing energy, but many countries contend it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, the UN adds.
Media and diplomatic reports reiterated that, regardless of its possible intentions, Iran is still far away from reaching the required uranium enrichment level that would enable the Gulf country to develop a nuclear weapon.
Dialogue, Only Solution
In a meeting on Thursday with the Iranian Foreign Minister, Aliakbar Salehi, Ban had shared his concern about Iran's nuclear programme and underscored the importance of transparency in this matter, as well as the need for Iran to fully comply with the IAEA, the UN reports.
Regarding Iran's talks with the P5+1 grouping, which is made up of the five Security Council permanent members -- China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States -- along with Germany, Ban and Salehi agreed on the need for positive momentum that would advance the talks, according to the Secretary-General's spokesperson.
"I conclude this visit strengthened in my conviction in dialogue and diplomacy," Ban told reporters during a press conference at Mehrabad Airport in Teheran before his departure, the UN reported.
"Through dialogue and diplomacy, I expect Iran to contribute meaningfully to our global agenda and to regional and international peace and security."
He added that he has condemned threats by any Member State to destroy or delegitimize another, UN added. "And I have reminded leaders here -- and indeed throughout the region -- to lower the volume and stop the provocation that can lead this area down a slippery slope of conflict. It is time for more reason and responsibility," Ban said.
"I leave here mindful of the challenges, but also satisfied that we have conveyed the messages that simply must be aired at this critical time."
Top US Military Commander:
'I Don't Want to Be Complicit' if Israel Attacks Iran
Human Wrongs Watch & Russia Today
(August 31, 2012) -- The highest ranking officer in the United States military has announced that he is against American participation in any Israeli-led attack on Iran, even as pressure to destroy the Islamic Republic's rumored nuclear program remain unrelieved.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters in London on Thursday that an Israeli attack would "clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran's nuclear program," adding that he was against US cooperation in a unilateral assault.
"I don't want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it," Dempsey told reporters.
"Nuclear Energy for All,
Nuclear Weapons for None"
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been adamant that the nation's nuclear facilities exist solely for peaceful purposes and that the country is not in the market for procuring nuclear warheads, a sentiment echoed by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who earlier this week told heads of state, "Our motto is nuclear energy for all and nuclear weapons for none."
So far, no foreign nations have been able to independently confirm or deny that claim. On Thursday, however, the United Nation's International Atomic Energy Agency wrote that Iran has been uncooperative with attempts to investigate their facilities and suggested that they could be procuring nukes.
"All Options Remain on the Table"
Israel, a close ally of the United States, has also claimed that Iran's intentions are motivated by manufacturing of warheads. In May of this year, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak stated, "Our position has not changed. The world must stop Iran from becoming nuclear. All options remain on the table."
From an executive standpoint, President Obama has also remained willing to strike if necessary, but has not pushed for pressure on Iran aside from the sanctions currently imposed by the United States.
"I also don't, as a matter of sound policy, go around advertising exactly what our intentions are. But (both) governments recognize that when the United States says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon, we mean what we say," President Obama said earlier this year to The Atlantic.
On Thursday, Gen. Dempsey commented that a strike against Iran over fears of their nuclear program, if conducted, could be without merit and might even erode the pro-Israeli alliance currently in place.
"International coalition" applying pressure on Iran "could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely," Dempsey said, adding that "Intelligence did not reveal intentions" to procure nukes.
Gen. Dempsey was in the UK to attend the Paralympic Games, where he is serving as the head of the US delegation.
* Report published on 31 August 2012 by Russia Today (RT).
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