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Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Iranian President Slams U.S. Nuclear Policy

WASHINGTON (CN) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slammed the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency during his address at the United Nation's nuclear nonproliferation conference on Monday, prompting several delegates to walk out.

He accused the United States of violating the treaty and the IAEA of being "unsuccessful" in achieving nuclear disarmament.

"The United States has never respected any of its commitments," Ahmadinejad said at the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference in Manhattan.

The review conference is held every five years to discuss the tenets of the treaty, struck in 1970 between the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia as a pledge of disarmament and an effort to stop the spread of nuclear weapons technology. The treaty also calls for protections for countries seeking to develop safe nuclear energy programs.

The United States has continually pressured Iran to dismantle its nuclear program, which it believes is designed to develop nuclear weapons. Iran insists the program is aimed solely at nuclear energy productions. The United States has asked countries to put international sanctions on Iran for refusing to scale back the program.

Ahmadinejad accused the United States of preaching nonproliferation in order to keep developing nations from developing peaceful uranium-enrichment programs.

He also accused the United States of supporting terrorist networks, saying the United States speaks out against nuclear terrorism to direct world attention to "phony matters" while it works to "maintain and upgrade" its own nuclear stockholds.

Ahmadinejad said the IAEA has been "unsuccessful in discharging its mandate" of achieving nuclear disarmament and has instituted "unfair policies" aimed at non-nuclear states discouraging them from developing nuclear energy programs.

He said the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty's "imbalances" were due to the "domineering influences" of major players, whose "gross mistake is their assumption that might makes it right."

He called possession of nuclear weapons "disgusting and shameful" and said they were "fire against humanity rather than a weapon for defense."

Ahmadinejad said Iran has always stood for "love and compassion," and the country "does not need nuclear bombs for its development."

The Iranian president also invited Obama to "join this humane movement if he is still committed to his motto of change."

Before Ahmad's address, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, "The onus is on Iran to clarify doubts and concerns about its program."

In his remarks, Ki-moon lamented the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and said, "65 years later, the world still lives under a nuclear shadow. How long must we wait to rid ourselves from this threat?"

Ki-moon warned countries against using the treaty as a "cover" to develop nuclear weapons only to later withdraw from the treaty.

The 2010 review conference will cover several topics involving nuclear and nonproliferation, advancing the peaceful use of nuclear energy and measures to further strengthen the review process.

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton will address the conference Monday afternoon.

The State Department says it has no plans to meet with the Iranian delegation at the conference.

Referring to Ahmadinejad's attendance at the conference, Clinton said, "The mission of those of us going to New York to review, revise and reinvigorate the NPT regime is very clear. If that's not his mission, then it won't be a particularly useful or productive trip on his part."

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