Shalom to UN: Iran Is Public Enemy No. 1

NEW YORK - Iran has "replaced Saddam Hussein as the world's number one exporter of terror, hate and instability," Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told the United Nations General Assembly yesterday.

In what listeners termed an "aggressive" speech, Shalom urged the UN to take action on Iran's nuclear program and "to address head-on the active involvement of Iran and Syria in terrorism, and Syria's continued occupation of Lebanon."

Shalom also urged the assembly "to end its obsession with Israel and to ensure that UN resources are allocated more equally and effectively."

Noting that Yom Kippur, which in Jewish tradition is a day of soul-searching, starts today, the foreign minister urged the UN to do its own soul-searching.

"Are we united for peace and security? Are we united for fairness and justice? Are we united against terror? Are we united against tyranny? Or are we, sadly, united only in cynical and immoral majority votes that make a mockery of the noble ideals on which this body was founded?" he asked.

Shalom said that he was encouraged by a sense that "the world is beginning to realize what we, in Israel, have long known - that terrorism is a challenge to humanity as a whole, not just to individual countries. That the response to this global threat must also be global, if it is to be effective."

However, he said, more needed to be done - on Iran, on Syria and in the Palestinian arena. "Palestinian terrorism is the key reason that the dream of peace in the Middle East has not yet become a reality," Shalom said. "Sadly... the Palestinian side spends more energy fighting Israel here at the UN than it does fighting the terrorists in its own territory... We urge the international community to recognize this reality and help the voices of reform and moderation within Palestinian society to emerge."

Shalom also offered a defense of the separation fence, noting: "Where there is a fence, there is no terror. Where there is no fence, there is terror... Most importantly, the fence is reversible. The lives taken by terror are irreversible."