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Iran Says Israel Transgressed ‘Red Line’ With Nuclear Arsenal

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Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- The world should speak out against Israel’s nuclear arsenal rather than setting a “red line” for Iran, the Persian Gulf country’s defense minister was cited as saying by the state-run Iranian Students News Agency.

“If having a nuclear bomb is overstepping the red line, then the Zionist regime with its tens of nuclear warheads has long transgressed it,” the agency cited Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi as saying yesterday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a speech at the United Nations on Sept. 27 that the international community must impose “red lines” on Iran’s uranium enrichment program to prevent the country from attaining nuclear weapons.

Netanyahu and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak have indicated that as Iran proceeds with its nuclear program, which the U.S. and its allies say could conceal the development of nuclear weapons, Israel may consider a strike against the Persian Gulf country’s nuclear facilities.

Iran, which has signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, says its nuclear program is for civilian purposes.

Is Israel, which threatens to attack, more dangerous than Iran, “which doesn’t have nuclear weapons, favors nuclear disarmament and is seeking peaceful nuclear energy within international regulations?” Vahidi was cited as saying in the ISNA report.

Israel doesn’t confirm or deny possession of nuclear weapons. The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates that Israel has as many as 200 nuclear warheads.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ladane Nasseri in Dubai at lnasseri@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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