Israel Isn’t Going To Attack Us, Iran’s U.N. Ambassador Says

Asked this afternoon if he thinks Israel will attack his nation anytime soon in a bid to destroy work Iran is doing on nuclear technology, the Persian nation’s ambassador to the United Nations told NPR, “I don’t think that is going to happen.”

“Iran is so strong,” said Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee, and “the consequences would be devastating for [Israel] and maybe for whoever helped them. … There are wise enough people around the world to tell them not to do such a crazy thing.”

The U.S., Israel and other nations have been tightening sanctions on Iran and have been warning that it needs to be more transparent about its nuclear ambitions (Iran says it is not pursuing development of nuclear weapons). Last week, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack said that if sanctions don’t work, military action against Iran must be considered.

(Related story: NPR.org’s Greg Myre today runs through “5 Reasons Why Israel Might Bomb Iran, Or Not.”)

Khazaee spoke with Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep. He repeated something that other Iranian officials have said in recent weeks — that they are prepared to talk with the so-called 5+1 nations (China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S.) about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. And Khazaee also repeated something said in recent months, but which still hasn’t happened: that Iran will respond to a letter from European Union High Representative Catherine Ashton calling for such talks.

Much more from Steve’s conversation with the ambassador is due on Thursday’s Morning Edition. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show. After it airs, we’ll add the as-broadcast version of the conversation to the top of this post.

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