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.
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"The onus is on Iran to clarify the doubts” about its nuclear ambitions and for Ahmadinejad to offer “transparent” assurances “of his country’s nuclear program,” Ban said just minutes before the Iranian president took the stage.Skip to next paragraph
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Mr. Amano, whose IAEA has repeatedly sought clarifications from Iran on its nuclear activities to little avail, condemned Iran’s “continuing diversion of nuclear materials that remains a significant concern.” He said he would continue to press Iran to exercise “full implementation of its IAEA agreements” and to “clarify activities with a possible military dimension.”
The Iranian leader stifled most of the vitriol that has earned him an international reputation, but he did surpass the eight minutes allotted each speaker several times over. He opened his remarks by ad-libbing a response to Ban’s and Amato’s criticisms of Iran before turning to his prepared text.
Ahmadinejad said it is the “arrogant” insistence of countries like the US in holding on to their substantial nuclear arsenals that leads others to seeks nuclear weapons. In an odd reference to the Obama administration’s recent Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) – which for the first time establishes that the US will not use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states – the Iranian leader said, “The US continues to threaten the use of its nuclear weapons against other countries, including mine.”
The new NPR provision does make an exception for countries that are found by international authorities to be in noncompliance with their NPT obligations. So by saying he considers Iran to be under threat of nuclear attack from the US, Ahmadinejad seemed to be suggesting that Iran either acknowledges being
in violation of its NPT obligations or already has a nuclear weapon. [Editor's note: The original version of this paragraph did not consider the
exception in the NPR provision.]
Despite such hyperbole, it seems likely that several of Ahmadinejad’s themes, including the tyranny of the powerful and the hypocrisy of special arrangements for non-NPT signatories like Israel, India, and Pakistan, will reverberate throughout the month-long conference.
Calling for the review conference to set up an independent committee to set a deadline for the elimination of all nuclear weapons, Ahmadinejad concluded by inviting Obama “to join this humane movement if he is still committed to his motive of change.”