Iran says a potential Israeli strike against its facilities would be “nuclear terrorism”, following Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the UN on Thursday.
The Israeli prime minister called for a red line to be drawn over Tehran’s nuclear programme. Many saw the speech as a clear threat.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi used a UN meeting on nuclear security to criticise the Security Council.
“The promotion of nuclear security is exclusively the responsibility of a state. Security Council must end using such issues as a pretext to act as a legislative body. Instead it should stick to its charter-based responsibilities and utilise its authority to act against those states undertaking cyber attacks and sabotage in the peaceful nuclear facilities, and (who) kill nuclear scientists of other countries.”
Netanyahu said he was confident Israel and the US could chart a common path over Iran.
The Obama administration argues sanctions and negotiations must be given time to work but has not ruled out military action.
Some commentators believe that option could be moving closer.
“Obama has said quite clearly that a nuclear Iran is unacceptable,” said Charles Kupchan, Professor of International Relations at Georgetown University. “If there is not a deal forthcoming on Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, its enrichment facilities, sometime over the course of late 2012 or early 2013, I think the chances of a military strike carried out be the United States are quite high.”
There have been calls in Israel for the country to repair relations with America that have been strained over Iran.
An Israeli strike against Iran before November’s US election is thought unlikely – although many are anticipating conflict before long.