04:06 GMT26 February 2021
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    The Iranian foreign minister called Benjamin Netanyahu's claims of a secret nuclear facility in Iran “an arts and crafts show.” In a tweet published on Thursday, Mr. Zarif noted that Israel was the only regime in the Middle East possessing a secret and undeclared nuclear weapons program, including an actual atomic arsenal.

    Radio Sputnik discussed Netanyahu's speech at the UN with Tim Anderson, an expert in international politics at the University of Sydney.

    Sputnik: Iran says that Netanyahu's claims cannot be taken into account seriously. What judgment do you have regarding Israeli PM's UN speech? Do his arguments stand up to scrutiny?

    Tim Anderson: He is a dangerous man and he is creating, like his mentor in the US, pretexts, which were a bit of credibility, pretexts that he will use and has used for almost arbitrary attacks.

    He's threatened to attack, for example, his Iranian opponents in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon; he's making very serious threats and this is the pretext, the pretext of some preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear program.

    Sputnik: Do you think that he was believed? How seriously were his remark taken and by whom?

    Tim Anderson: It's difficult to say because in a sense political alliances mean more than beliefs these days. Unfortunately, there's a great indulgence of Israel in Russia, there's a special relationship there.

    Of course, we know that many of the European states are committed; so whatever they might believe, how they react to this sort of new pretext to war, unfortunately, hangs more on the traditional alliances and actually whether it's a convincing argument.

    Sputnik: When we had the European and other signatories of the JCPOA, there was talk of the fact that we would continue working with Iran and as testified to by the 12 already successful reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has been in keeping with that agreement. When you have the international agency that is responsible for inspecting and making sure that Iran is, in fact, in keeping with its side of the agreement — what does this statement by Netanyahu say about that agency? It just seems very strange that you have the go-to agency, the internationally recognized agency that is saying that Iran does not have what Mr. Netanyahu has claimed they do have.

    Tim Anderson: I think it says that other nations take international law and international agencies far more seriously than both Israel and the US do. The US, for example, after many years of the JCPOA simply pulled out and walked away.

    READ MORE: Iran's FM Refutes Netanyahu's Info About Secret Nuclear Warehouse in Tehran

    The Europeans were disappointed about that; they are trying to maintain their own view of that agreement which in many respects was not particularly sizeable to Iran in the first place. But the US showed that they have contempt for those sorts of agreements and the monitoring of those agreements.

    Israel showed exactly the same contempt for the monitoring agency. Israel has this traditional adversarial approach to the United Nations because there's so much legitimate criticism that Israel goes on with within the UN.

    This is a typically very volatile environment where Israel and the US disregard international law. The one effect of which you could say is that both states are alienating their former allies, and their former allies are looking at ways now of getting round, for example, the economic sanctions on Iran. We know that many of the important allies of the US are now finding ways to get round these economic sanctions.

    Sputnik: It's interesting to note that Iran, once these accusations were made against it, said that it was actually Israel that possessed secretive nuclear weapons and the secretive nuclear weapons program; what do you make of those claims? Do you think that was sort of lashing out?

    Tim Anderson: Obviously that's true that Israel says that it doesn't (3:50) but it's well known that Israel has a stock of nuclear weapons and it's making the hysteria that another state in the region has nuclear weapons.

    In many respects the bottom of that pretext is simply Iran actually acquired nuclear weapons. If we look at what happened in Korea it led to very productive talks, once there was some sort of greater symmetry in the game.

    If we look at what happens in Korea and on the peninsula now you might say that maybe nuclear weapons might be a prerequisite for some sort of reasonable talks. In the current circumstances that's true and it's very relevant to point out that Israel is indeed the rogue state with a leader who has very little respect for international law and international agreements let alone the actual state of apartheid in Israel. It's a very dangerous situation.

    The views and opinions expressed by the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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