Exclussive: Russia Slams Israeli Nuclear Remarks as ‘Provocative’

Exclussive: Russia Slams Israeli Nuclear Remarks as ‘Provocative’

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Russia's Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, condemned recent statements by an Israeli minister about the use of nuclear weapons in Gaza as "unacceptable and provocative."

In an exclusive interview with the Tasnim News Agency, Ulyanov addressed condemnations of recent statements made by an Israeli minister during the November session of the IAEA Board of Governors in which a significant number of countries, notably excluding Western nations, joined in denouncing the remarks, which were seen as confirming Israel's possession of nuclear weapons and suggesting a readiness to consider their use.

Ulyanov went on to say that during the IAEA Board of Governors session in November, attention was drawn to statements made by the Israeli minister, which drew condemnation from a diverse group of nations, particularly those from the Middle East. “What stood out was the absence of any attempt by Western countries to justify the Israeli minister's remarks,” he said.

Ulyanov expressed his country's position during the session, labeling the statements as both "unacceptable and provocative." He emphasized the historical 'confirm nor deny' policy of Israel concerning its nuclear arsenal, asserting that the recent statements not only confirm Israel's possession of nuclear weapons but also indicate a readiness to seriously consider their use.

Amichai Eliyahu, Israel's heritage minister, said in November that one of Israel's options in the war against Hamas could be to drop a nuclear bomb on the Gaza Strip, comments that drew condemnation from the Muslim world. Iran also demanded an immediate international response, arguing that such a threat undermines the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

The Russian diplomat also criticized Western nations' stance on Iran's nuclear program.

He highlighted the disappointing nature of the E3 and US statement at the IAEA session, outlining Western nations' continuous enumeration of complaints about Iran's nuclear program's deviation from JCPOA parameters. “This is pure hypocrisy, as they are the ones refusing to conclude negotiations on the restoration of the Nuclear Deal that are standing at the finish line. If a relevant decision was finalized, and this can be done within a few days, then four months later the nuclear program of Iran would return to its 2016 parameters – together with lifting of illegal US unilateral sanctions against Iran,” he added.

He stressed that decisive action would restore Iran's nuclear program to its 2016 status while lifting unilateral US sanctions, but Western countries seem unwilling to take this step, indicating satisfaction with the current state of affairs.

“Western countries are not ready to take such a step. As it was noted by the Russian delegation at the November session of the IAEA Board of Governors, this clearly demonstrates that they are fully satisfied with the current state of affairs, and they have no appetite whatsoever to change anything for the better. That’s the reality of today,” Ulyanov said.

He inferred that the US, France, Germany, and the UK might not be ready to resume and finalize the Vienna Talks on the JCPOA restoration, indicating a potential continued status quo.

“Judging by all circumstances, most likely the US, France, Germany and the UK at this stage are not ready to resume and finalize the Vienna Talks on the JCPOA restoration. This means that the current status quo will probably remain intact in the foreseeable future,” he said, expressing concern about potential uncontrolled escalation and commending Iran's responsible approach in the matter, emphasizing its readiness to conclude the Vienna Talks positively.

“From the Russian point of view, it’s not good, as in these circumstances any ill-conceived or careless action may lead to an uncontrolled escalation. We welcome the fact that Iran takes a responsible stance in that matter, refraining from sudden moves and stressing its readiness to conclude the Vienna Talks on a positive note,” he concluded.

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