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Iran Protests to UN About Israeli Attack Warning

Urges firm Security Council response.

Iran has protested to the United Nations about a warning by a top Israeli official that the Jewish state will attack Iran if it fails to halt its alleged nuclear weapons program.

Iran's U.N. mission issued the protest in a letter Saturday to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

It urged a firm response from the U.N. Security Council to the warning by Shaul Mofaz, an Israeli deputy prime minister and a former member of Israel's security cabinet.

The Iranian mission said the council's history of failing to act against Israel has emboldened it to continue with what it called unlawful behaviors.

The Iranian-born Mofaz was quoted by an Israeli newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, as saying U.N. sanctions have been ineffective in stopping Iran's controversial nuclear program. He predicted the situation will eventually result in an attack on Iran.

He also said any Israeli military action against Iran would have U.S. backing.

Mofaz also serves as Israel's transportation minister. He is challenging Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for leadership of the ruling Kadima Party, following a corruption scandal that has clouded Mr. Olmert's political future.

Excerpts of his interview with Yediot Ahronot were released Friday, but publication of the full text is not expected before Sunday.

The United States and its allies accuse Iran of working to produce a nuclear weapon. Iran says its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.

Israel believes Iran could develop a nuclear bomb by 2010, and says a nuclear-armed Iran could threaten the existence of the Jewish state. Iran has also been developing long-range missiles.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.