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Ahmadinejad: critics of Iran nuclear program 'illegitimate'

In a rambling press conference during the UN conference on nuclear nonproliferation, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed that most countries support Iran's nuclear program.

By Staff writer / May 4, 2010

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives for a news conference, during his visit to attend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) conference at the United Nations headquarters Tuesday.

Bebeto Matthews/AP


United Nations, NY

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday dismissed United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s questioning of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

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That’s just the result of pressure from the UN headquarters’ powerful host country, he said. And he claimed that most countries support Iran in its nuclear developments – unlike the world’s “illegitimate power structure” represented by the UN Security Council.

In a rambling, nearly two-hour-long press conference at a hotel across from the UN complex, the Iranian leader lamented the condition of women in the West and declared the US is free to seize any weapons it believes are being shipped from North Korea to Tehran.

“Weapons from North Korea to Iran?” he said in response to a question about US allegations of detected arms shipments. “I don’t understand, we don’t need arms from there.”

Noting that it is the US that is fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, he added that the US might be able to use such weapons.

Nuclear haves vs. have-nots

But Mr. Ahmadinejad’s focus was on the world’s prevailing nuclear nonproliferation regime – under review this month at the UN’s Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference – and his view that the current structure perpetuates the power of the world’s nuclear haves while relegating the have-nots to second-class status.

Declaring that the 40-year-old NPT has failed in its three goals of disarmament, non-proliferation, and an equitable development of peaceful nuclear energy, he said, “We need a new framework and a new set of guidelines that should be based on justice and rights of nations and human beings.”

Ahmadinejad challenged the view that much of the world opposes Iran’s nuclear ambitions, claiming that more than 100 countries from the Non-Aligned Movement and the world’s majority Muslim countries support Iran.