Tags: Ahmadinejad | US | UN | punish

Ahmadinejad Asks UN to Punish US For Nuclear 'Threats'

Monday, 03 May 2010 07:39 PM

UNITED NATIONS - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blasted the United States at a UN conference here Monday for threatening to use atomic weapons, triggering a sharp American response and a walkout by several delegations.

"Regrettably, the government of the United States has not only used nuclear weapons but also continues to threaten to use such weapons against other countries, including Iran," he said.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dismissed the Iranian leader's charges as "wild accusations" in her speech to the crucial review conference of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The Iranian nuclear crisis is seen as a key right of passage for the 40-year-old treaty which is credited with keeping the lid on nuclear proliferation worldwide.

Iran is a test case, as its getting the bomb could set off an atomic arms race in the Middle East.

Describing Iran as the "only country" currently not in compliance with NPT obligations, Clinton said this was why Iran "is facing increasing isolation and pressure" from the international community.

Iran is under three rounds of UN Security Council sanctions to get it to stop enriching uranium, which can be used to make the bomb, even though it insists its nuclear program is a peaceful effort to generate electricity.

Faced with Tehran's nuclear defiance, the United States and five other major powers are trying to reach agreement on a fourth round.

In his address, Ahmadinejad roundly condemned the United States as a proliferator and manipulator of the NPT to its own ends in his 35-minute speech in the UN's General Assembly chamber.

But Clinton insisted that US President Barack Obama "has made reducing the threat posed by nuclear weapons and materials a central mission of our foreign policy."

She labeled Iran as an "outlier" country, which like North Korea demonstrates "a determination to violate the rules and defy the international community."

But she said that the meeting, which runs through May 28, aims to "strengthen a global non-proliferation regime that advances the security of all nations" and that "Iran will not succeed in its efforts to divert and divide."

Ahmadinejad said having nuclear weapons was "disgusting and shameful, and even more shameful is the threat to use or to use such weapons."

In Washington, the Defense Department released previously classified statistics on the size of the US nuclear arsenal, saying it has over 5,000 warheads stockpiled.

This is part of a US drive to prove it is serious about disarmament and transparency about its nuclear weapons.

Washington has launched various initiatives recently to give weight to Obama's vow made in Prague a year ago to work for a world free of nuclear weapons.

But in a new nuclear policy unveiled last month, it stated that atomic weapons were still part of its defense posture and that it reserved the right to use them against non-nuclear-weapons states, like Iran, which fail to comply with the NPT.

Ahmadinejad called for the United States to be suspended from the UN atomic watchdog's executive board over its threats to use nuclear weapons.

Besides the United States, fellow nuclear powers Britain and France walked out. Non-nuclear states which also left included Germany, Finland, the Czech Republic and Morocco, according to a Western diplomat.

Ahmadinejad said states without nuclear weapons have not "been able to exercise their inalienable and legal rights for peaceful use of nuclear energy without facing pressures and threats."

Clinton also announced that Washington was pledging 50 million dollars for a "new IAEA Peaceful Uses initiative," by the UN nuclear International Atomic Energy Agency.

Another stumbling block at the conference is Egypt's insistence, backed by non-aligned states, that there be an international conference on creating a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East.

The 1995 review conference had called for such a zone. Review conferences are held every five years.

Israel is not a member of the NPT and is believed to have some 200 atom bombs. It says there must be peace in the Middle East before setting up a weapons-free zone.

Clinton said the United States was ready to carry out "practical measures" towards such a zone. She did not say what these measures would be.

She later told reporters that "conditions for such a zone do not exist" at the present time.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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UNITED NATIONS - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blasted the United States at a UN conference here Monday for threatening to use atomic weapons, triggering a sharp American response and a walkout by several delegations.
Monday, 03 May 2010 07:39 PM
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