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Ahmadinejad at the UN: US the real nuclear threat

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used his speech at the opening of the United Nations nuclear non-proliferation conference Monday to accuse the world's nuclear powers of 'monopolizing' nuclear technology.

By Staff writer / May 3, 2010

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses the United Nations Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference Monday in New York.

Chip East/Reuters

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United Nations, New York

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemned the United States and Israel as two of the world’s “real” nuclear threats and called for nuclear energy to be shared with all countries in his speech at a major United Nations nuclear non-proliferation conference Monday.

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Barely mentioning his own country’s nuclear program – which international experts and Western powers suspect is aimed at producing a nuclear weapon – the controversial Iranian leader hammered at one of his signature themes: that the world’s nuclear powers are determined to “monopolize” nuclear technology as a means of power and domination over the world’s nuclear have-nots.

Declaring that Iran is “a great nation that does not need nuclear bombs for its development and does not need them for its sense of honor,” Mr. Ahmadinejad called on countries “who do see nuclear weapons as a source of power and dignity” to abandon “thinking that belongs to the past and is not valid any more.”

Ahmadinejad was one of the first speakers at the opening session Monday of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty review conference, a once-every-five-years event that seeks to update and strengthen the 40 year-old NPT. The treaty’s 189 signatory countries will be in session throughout the month of May hearing proposals on the NPT’s three pillars: nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation, and the equitable access to nuclear energy technology for peaceful purposes.

By attending the NPT review as the opening session’s only head of state, Ahmadinejad guaranteed himself top billing under the UN’s prevailing rules of protocol. A succession of speakers ranging from the conference president to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon found themselves obligated to refer to the Iranian leader by name before addressing other “excellencies.”

But the diplomatic deference did not guarantee the Iranian leader a universally positive reception. Both Mr. Ban and the director general of the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency, Yukiyo Amano, made specific reference to Iran’s “noncompliance” with its International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) obligations and “urged” Iran to quickly meet its NPT obligations.

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