Iranian minister: Israel already crossed nuclear ′red line′ | News | DW | 29.09.2012
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Iranian minister: Israel already crossed nuclear 'red line'

Israel has already crossed its own nuclear "red line," Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said Saturday in response to remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this week at the UN General Assembly.

During his speech at the United Nations in New York, Netanyahu used an illustrated bomb diagram to call for a "clear red line" to be drawn with regard to Iran's nuclear program, which he says is being used to develop atomic weapons.

Vahidi responded in kind on Saturday, saying Israel has already breached its own nuclear red line.

"If having the atomic bomb is passing the red line, the Zionist regime, that possesses dozens of nuclear warheads and weapons of mass destruction, has passed the red line years ago, and it has to be stopped," Vahidi (pictured at top) told the ISNA news agency.

Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the UN General Assembly earlier this week. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly earlier this week.

"Which country is more dangerous?" asked the minister. "A regime with nuclear weapons threatening another country with military attack or a country which is in favor of nuclear disarmament and pursues peaceful nuclear programs within international regulations?"

Israel is the only official nuclear power in the Middle East, with analysts estimating an arsenal of up to 200 or more weapons. Israel, a member of the Atomic Energy Agency, has never signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Though Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, Israel has said otherwise, warning of the "existential" threat from Tehran.

US in 'full agreement'

The White House said Friday in a press release that US President Barack Obama and Netanyahu are in "full agreement on the shared goal of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon."

The release added that the two leaders are working closely in dealing with issues "regarding the threat posed by Iran – its nuclear program, proliferation and support for terrorism."

dr/tm (AFP, dpa, AP)