IRAN COMPLAINS TO U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL OVER SNEH COMMENTS
By Haaretz Service and the Associated Press
November 11, 2006
[PHOTO CAPTION: Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh: Sanctions against Iran will not succeed.]
Iran filed a complaint Saturday to the U.N. Security Council over remarks by Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh that Israel must be ready to prevent Iran's nuclear program "at all costs."
Iran's ambassador to the U.N., Javad Zarif, submitted the complaint to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. It stated that the Council must censure Israel over the threat, and called Israel a terror state that must be stopped.
Sneh suggested in comments published Friday that Israel might be forced to launch a military strike against Iran's nuclear program -- the clearest statement yet of this possibility from a high-ranking Israeli official.
"I am not advocating an Israeli pre-emptive military action against Iran and I am aware of its possible repercussions," Sneh, of the Labor Party, told the Jerusalem Post daily. "I consider it a last resort. But even the last resort is sometimes the only resort," he said.
Sneh's tough talk is the boldest to date by a high-ranking Israeli official. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and other leaders frequently discuss the Iranian threat in grave terms, but stop short of discussing military action against Tehran.
The former Israel Defense Forces brigadier general told the paper that Israel cannot afford "living under a dark cloud of fear from a leader committed to its destruction." Under such a threat, he said, "most Israelis would prefer not to live here; most Jews would prefer not to come here with their families; and Israelis who can live abroad will."
"People are not enthusiastic about being scorched," he said.
Sneh said Israel's greatest possible danger could be Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's ability "to kill the Zionist dream without pushing a button. That's why we must prevent this regime from obtaining nuclear capability at all costs."
Ahmadinejad has previously called for Israel to be "wiped off the map," and has expressed doubts that the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were murdered, took place. [For Prof. Virginia Tilley's refutation of the endlessly repeated canard that Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map" (a mistranslation of what he said), see here. —R.T.]
The deputy minister said that while he hopes that efficient sanctions would be imposed by the international community against Iran, "the chances are not high . . . My working assumption is that they won't succeed."
Government spokeswoman Miri Eisin said Sneh's comments did not necessarily reflect the view of the government or Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Israel crippled Iraq's nuclear program 25 years ago with an airstrike on its unfinished nuclear reactor at Osiraq. Experts say Iran has learned from Iraq's mistakes, scattering its nuclear facilities and building some underground.