Iran asks UN to condemn Israeli threats

The UN was asked to force Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and bring its nuclear program under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). (File/AFP)
Updated 20 September 2018
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Iran asks UN to condemn Israeli threats

LONDON: Iran has asked the United Nations to condemn Israeli threats against Tehran and to bring Israel's nuclear programme under its supervision, state media reported on Thursday.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a visit to a secretive Israeli atomic reactor in late August to warn the country’s enemies that it has the means to destroy them, in what appeared to be a veiled reference to its assumed nuclear arsenal.
"The United Nations’ members should not turn a blind eye to these threats and must take firms actions to eliminate all Israeli nuclear weapons," Fars news agency quoted Iran's ambassador to the United Nations Gholamali Khoshrou as saying in letters to the U.N. secretary general and the security council.
Khoshrou asked the United Nations to force Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and bring its nuclear programme under supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a UN atomic watchdog.
Israel, which is outside the NPT, neither confirms nor denies having the bomb, a decades-old “ambiguity” policy that it says keeps hostile neighbours in check while avoiding the kind of public provocations that can spark regional arms races.
Israel is trying to lobby world powers to follow the United States in exiting their 2015 deal with Iran that capped the Islamic Republic’s nuclear capabilities in return for lifting of sanctions.
The Israelis deem the agreement insufficient for denying their arch-foe the means to eventually get the bomb - something that Tehran, which is a signatory to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), denies wanting.
Since its 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran has preached Israel’s destruction. It backs the Lebanese militia Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas. Its reinforcement of Damascus during Syria’s civil war is seen by the Netanyahu government as a further Iranian deployment on Israel’s borders. (


US-led coalition slammed over Raqqa civilian killings

Daesh overran large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014, declaring a so-called “caliphate” there. (Reuters)
Updated 12 min 2 sec ago
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US-led coalition slammed over Raqqa civilian killings

  • During the campaign to expel militants from the city, hundreds of civilians were killed in the battle, most of them in coalition bombardments, Amnesty says
  • Amnesty says that the coalition had admitted to having caused just 100 civilians deaths in the Raqqa assault, but even in those cases accepted no liability

BEIRUT: Amnesty International on Monday condemned the US-led coalition’s failure to acknowledge and investigate its role in civilian killings during the battle a year ago to oust militants from Syria’s Raqqa.

In October last year, a Kurdish-Arab alliance pushed Daesh out of the northern city, backed by airstrikes of the US-led coalition.

During the campaign to expel militants from the city, hundreds of civilians were killed in the battle, most of them in coalition bombardments, Amnesty says.

“The US-led coalition’s ongoing failure to admit to, let alone adequately investigate, the shocking scale of civilian deaths and destruction it caused in Raqqa is a slap in the face for survivors,” the London-based group said in a statement.

One year on, Amnesty says that the coalition had admitted to having caused just 100 civilians deaths in the Raqqa assault, but even in those cases accepted no liability.

“It is completely reprehensible that the coalition refuses to acknowledge its role in most of the civilian casualties it caused,” Amnesty’s new secretary-general, Kumi Naidoo, said.

And it is “abhorrent that even where it has admitted responsibility, it accepts no obligation toward its victims,” he said.

Denouncing a “disturbing pattern” of civilian deaths, the rights groups urged the coalition to conduct a probe, both to establish the facts behind each deadly strike, and to avoid any future mistakes.

“Surely, with hundreds of civilians dead, it begs the question what went wrong,” Naidoo said, urging the coalition to look into issues such as weapons used and quality of intelligence.

“These are crucial details, to establish both facts and assess lawfulness, as well as learn the lessons necessary to avoid similar mistakes,” he said.

The latter was “fundamental to minimizing harm to civilians — a legal obligation,” he said.

Daesh overran large parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014, declaring a so-called “caliphate” there, and the coalition intervened the same year to fight the extremist group.

The militants have since seen their proto-state crumble, but cling on to a presence in the Syrian desert and in an eastern pocket on the Iraqi border where they are under attack by coalition-backed forces.

Since 2014 the US-led coalition has acknowledged direct responsibility for more than 1,100 civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq, but rights groups put the number killed much higher.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, says coalition strikes in Syria alone have killed more than 3,300 civilians.

Syria’s war has killed more than 360,000 people since it erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-regime protests.