WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a U.N. declaration that urged his country to put its nuclear facilities under U.N. safeguards, saying it singled out Israel while letting Iran off the hook.
In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation broadcast on Sunday night, Netanyahu said he did not think Israel would participate the U.N. resolution’s implementation.
The declaration adopted on Friday by all 189 parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, including the United States, called for a conference in 2012 to discuss banning weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
The creation of such a zone could ultimately force Israel to sign the NPT and abandon any atomic weapons it has.
The document urged Israel to sign the NPT and open its nuclear facilities to U.N. inspection.
“I thought that was a particularly distorted and flawed resolution because it singled out Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East and the only country anywhere on Earth threatened with annihilation,” Netanyahu told CBC.
“It failed to mention Iran, which brazenly violates the Non-Proliferation Treaty, is racing to arm itself with atomic weapons and openly expresses its wish to see Israel wiped off the face of the Earth,” Netanyahu said.
Israel is presumed to have a sizable nuclear arsenal but neither confirms nor denies it. It is the only Middle East state that has not signed the NPT and, like India and Pakistan, which have exploded nuclear devices, did not participate in a month-long U.N. meeting in New York to review the NPT.
The declaration contained plans for further disarmament, strengthening global non-proliferation efforts and ensuring access to technology for peaceful uses. It called on North Korea to return to the NPT, which it left in 2003.
The Obama administration opposed efforts to single out Israel and said it would not put the Jewish state under any pressure to do anything that would undermine its security. The White House deplored the document’s failure to mention Iran.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful generation of electric power. The United States and other Western countries suspect it is aimed at producing nuclear weapons.
Netanyahu said the U.N. should be focusing on Iran.
“The greatest threat to mankind today ... is if a radical Islamic regime meets up with nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons meet up with a radical Islamic regime,” he told CBC,
“The first is called Iran and the second is called the Taliban takeover of Pakistan. These developments could ... change the world,” Netanyahu said.
Reporting by Anthony Boadle, editing by David Stamp