Shalom Urges UN to End Its Obsession With Israel

NEW YORK - Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom urged the UN General Assembly on Thursday to shed its obsession with Israel and said Iran has replaced Saddam Hussein as the main source of world terrorism.

Shalom also called on the General Assembly to fight threats arising from Syria's occupation of Lebanon and Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Shalom, who said Wednesday that Iran must be taken before the Security Council over its nuclear program, said Iranian missiles can reach London, Paris and southern Russia.

"The international community now realizes that Iran does not only pose a threat to the security of Israel but to the security of the whole world," Shalom told the General Assembly's annual ministerial meeting.

"Indeed Iran has replaced Saddam Hussein as the world's No. 1 exporter of terorism, hate and instability," Shalom said.

He said Syria's military presence in Lebanon and support for Hezbollah is a threat to Israel and to peace in the region. The day before, Shalom called on the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Teheran if it fails to dismantle its nuclear programs, saying that Iran has missiles that can strike at capitals in Europe and the Middle East.

The foreign minister also called on the 191-member General Assembly, which is heavily influenced by the voting blocs of Arab, Islamic and non-aligned countries, to Shalom called on the 191-nation body to sponsor a special session aimed at bringing an end to racism and anti-Semitism.

Hezbollah slams Allawi-Shalom handshakeLebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas heaped scorn on Iraq's prime minister on Thursday for shaking hands with Shalom at the United Nations, saying he had disgraced Iraq and offended Arabs and Muslims.

Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi shook hands with Shalom on Tuesday at the General Assembly, where alphabetical order put them side by side.

"(It) is a sign of one of the most dangerous goals of the American war on Iraq, yanking Iraq from its place in the Arab and Muslim worlds and sticking it in the U.S.-Zionist political cosmos," Hezbollah said in a statement.

"This unacceptable handshake is at once a true insult to the Iraqi people, their history, culture and Islamic and national commitment; and flagrant scorn for the suffering of Palestinian people and the sentiments of Arabs and Muslims," it said.

Shalom said the incident was the first official contact between Israel and Baghdad since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, which Israel attacked to destroy a nuclear reactor in 1981.

Iraq fired missiles at Israel during the 1991 Gulf war, when Saddam Hussein answered demands to pull his army out of Kuwait by saying Israel must in turn end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.