(Reuters) – Iran complained to the United Nations on Tuesday over what it called a U.S. threat to attack it with atomic weapons, accusing Washington of nuclear blackmail in violation of the U.N. charter.
President Barack Obama made clear last week that Iran and North Korea, both involved in nuclear disputes with the West, were excluded from new limits on the use of U.S. atomic weapons.
A letter from Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council and General Assembly presidents called on the United Nations to “strongly oppose the threat of use of nuclear weapons and to reject it.”
Statements by Obama and other U.S. officials were “tantamount to nuclear blackmail against a non-nuclear-weapon state” and breached U.S. obligations under the U.N. charter to refrain from the threat or use of force, Khazaee said.
“Such remarks by the U.S. officials display once again the reliance of the U.S. government on (a) militarized approach to various issues, to which the threats of use of nuclear weapons are not a solution at all,” he added.
They also posed “a real threat to international peace and security and undermine the credibility” of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the envoy said.
Obama is urging other global powers to agree to a fourth round of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt nuclear work that the West suspects is aimed at making bombs, a charge Iran denies.
He pressed the case for sanctions at a 47-nation nuclear summit in Washington on Tuesday, at which he won pledges from world leaders to take joint action to prevent terrorist groups from getting nuclear weapons.
But Khazaee said that Iran, as a victim of weapons of mass destruction — a reference to Iraq’s use of poison gas against it in a 1980-88 war — was firmly committed to a world free from such weapons.
The United States, the only country to have used nuclear weapons — against Japan in World War Two — “continues to illegitimately designate a non-nuclear weapon state as target of its nuclear weapons and contemplates military plans accordingly,” he said.
U.N. members “should not condone or tolerate such nuclear blackmail in (the) 21st century,” the Iranian envoy said.
(Editing by Vicki Allen)