Speaking at the start of the four-week nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference at the United Nations in New York on Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described the policy of building up nuclear stockpiles for the purposes of deterrent as “disgusting and shameful,” and “not a source of pride.”
In a reference to the recently announced U.S. Nuclear Posture Review, Mr. Ahmadinejad called for states that threaten to use atomic weapons to be punished. He further described as “hazardous” the production and stockpiling of nuclear weapons by world powers, and made a reference to a 2007 episode in the United States when an aircraft mistakenly transported six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles within U.S. territory.
It was reported that the delegations of the United States, Britain and France all walked out of the U.N. General Assembly chamber during the Iranian President's speech.
In critique that was sharp, if expectedly so, Mr. Ahmadinejad said that to this day those who were behind the dropping of the atomic bombs in Japan were the “most hated in human history.” He stressed the need for “considering any threat to use nuclear weapons or attack against peaceful nuclear facilities as a breach of international peace and security.”
Speaking after the inaugural address of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Mr. Ahmadinejad however invited United States President Barack Obama to join the movement for a nuclear-free world if he was “truly committed to change.”
Onus on Iran: Ban
Mr. Ban in his speech directly challenged Iran, saying, “The onus is on Iran to clarify the doubts and concerns about its program.” He called on the Tehran government to “fully comply with Security Council resolutions” calling for it to cease enrichment activities.
Earlier U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had said, “If Iran is coming to say we are willing to abide by the non-proliferation treaty that would be very welcome news.” However, she added, “I have a feeling that's not what they're coming to do…I think they're coming to try to divert attention and confuse the issue.”
Mr. Ahmadinejad, however, stated that Iran's approach to the question of global nuclear security and disarmament was practical, fair and transparent. He reiterated that disarmament and making use of peaceful nuclear energy were two major and influential global issues.