Arab states have accused the United Nations nuclear watchdog of holding back from criticising Israel.
Israel is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons
Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia said the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) was ignoring Israel's alleged weapons of mass destruction.
At the same time, they said, the agency was putting pressure on other countries to give up their nuclear programmes.
The IAEA is urging Iran to prove that its nuclear power plants are not being used to develop weapons-grade material.
North Korea was in a similar position until it withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT), which is designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.
Israel, unlike Iran and North Korea, has not signed the NPT. The Jewish state has never confirmed being a nuclear power, but is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons.
Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Saudi
Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said: "What surprises us is that at a time when the International
Atomic Energy Agency is intensifying its efforts and monitoring
(NPT) member countries... we see that it continues to ignore
the rejection of Israel in not joining the treaty.
"This constitutes a serious threat to the security and
stability of the whole region."
Saudi Arabia has been a key US ally in the Gulf
Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said: "It is
unacceptable that Israel's possession of such weapons should
remain a reality that some prefer to ignore or prevent the
international community... from facing it squarely and
Syria, which has been accused by the United States of developing chemical
and biological weapons, hit back at Washington.
"A lot has been
said lately about the dangers of the proliferation of weapons
of mass destruction by countries that already have different
types of such weapons," said Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa.
In a reference to the US-led war in Iraq, he said: "Some have even waged war under the pretext of eliminating
Mr Sharaa added that it was "regrettable... that some quarters
selectively choose to level their false accusations at some
Arab and Islamic states but not on others, while simultaneously
ignoring the Israeli arsenal of weapons of mass destruction,
including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons".
Under US pressure, the IAEA has given Iran until 31 October to prove it does not plan to develop nuclear weapons.
Europe and Russia have also increased pressure on Tehran to
meet the deadline.
But Iran - which insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful - has said it will limit IAEA inspectors' access to declared nuclear sites when they arrive this week.
Tuesday saw the head of the IAEA, Mohammad ElBaradei, say that this was not good enough.
"If we cannot have full co-operation, full disclosure,
unfortunately I'll have to say that I am not able to verify the
The US is also leading
efforts to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme.