Iran accuses Netanyahu of threatening nuclear attack

Tehran’s letter to the UN Security Council warns of ‘decisive response’ to ‘all Israeli threats and illegal acts.’

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Iran has sent a sharply-worded letter of complaint to the UN Security Council that menaced Israel after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Islamic Republic should “face a credible nuclear threat” in his General Assembly speech Friday, even though his office had almost immediately said he had misspoken.

In his letter, Iranian ambassador to the UN Amir Saeed Iravani wrote that Netanyahu had “made explicit threats to use nuclear weapons against an independent member state of the United Nations.”

“Considering that nuclear weapons are a threat to the existence of humanity and the planet, the severity of such a threat is incomparable and will cause a great shock to the international community, especially when such a threat comes from a credible forum,” he added.

“The use or even the mere threat of using nuclear weapons, regardless of the circumstances, by anyone, at any time and in any place, is a clear violation of international laws.”

His country demanded “a firm response from the international community,” but warned that Iran would act on its own to defend itself, he continued.

“In accordance with international law, we will respond decisively to all threats and illegal acts originating from the Israeli regime,” the letter said. “We will not hesitate to exercise these rights to protect our security, our national interests – and our people.”

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Netanyahu had devoted several minutes of his speech at the opening session of the General Assembly to the danger Iran posed to the world with its nuclear program and backing of terrorist groups around the world.

“Eight years ago, the Western powers promised that if Iran violated the nuclear deal, the sanctions would be snapped back,” he said in part. “Well, Iran is violating the deal, but the sanctions have not been snapped back….  And above all, Iran must face a credible nuclear threat. As long as I’m prime minister of Israel, I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”

In a statement clarifying his words soon after, the Prime Minister’s Office said that Netanyahu had meant to say “credible military threat,” but had simply misread the line. A PDF version of the official text of his speech, which was issued by his office, contains the words “credible military threat,” not “nuclear threat.”

The phrase is one he has repeatedly used in asking the world – and especially the United States – to back their verbal opposition to Iran producing nuclear weapons with the real possibility of action.

This, and harsh economic sanctions, are the only deterrent that he believes could prevent the ultimate strategic threat to Israel’s existence.