Israel: U.N. Must Halt Iran Nuke Ambitons
By BARRY SCHWEID, AP Diplomatic Writer
WASHINGTON - Israeli ambassador Daniel Ayalon said Monday that Iran must be stopped from developing nuclear weapons and that the task should be assigned to the U.N. Security Council.
"The clock is ticking, and time is not on our side," Ayalon said.
Speaking to The Israeli Project, a private group committed to Israel's security, Ayalon said he did not see much of a difference between President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a hard-liner elected by a landslide last weekend, and other Iranian candidates he defeated.
He said all support terror and advocate a nuclear weapons program. But he said that Ahmadinejad was "an extreme candidate" with a higher degree of extremism than his rivals.
"Iran must be stopped," Ayalon said.
For months the Bush administration has warned it might ask the U.N. Security Council to impose economic and political sanctions on Iran to halt its nuclear weapons program. At the same time, the administration has backed the European Union in seeking a negotiated settlement with Tehran.
On Sunday, Ahmadinejad vowed to pursue a peaceful nuclear program ? an effort the United States maintains is a cover for trying to build atomic bombs ? and said his government would not be an extremist one.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has accused Iran of holding what he called a "mock election," with more than 1,000 potential candidates ? including all women ? disqualified from running by the country's hard-line Guardian Council.
On Sunday, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom said he believes the election was undemocratic.
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