The President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, at United Nations Headquarters today, again emphatically defended his country's nuclear programme and stressed that the nation was working within the framework of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).
At a press conference that touched on controversial issues from Palestine to Zionism to Lebanon, President Ahmadi-Nejad said that the United States Administration had turned Iran's nuclear programme into a political issue, without any legal support for that position. Iran had demonstrated its cooperation with the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which had published reports stating that the Agency did not see any violation of the Treaty.
"I don't know why you are so sensitive of the enrichment word," he told the correspondents. "The problem is that the US Government and some European countries are making alterations in the way they treat the Iranian Government and imposing their views on us."
He stressed: "We are not seeking a nuclear bomb." He added later to a series of questions: "The bottom line is we do not need a bomb. A bomb cannot be effective in international relations. The time for bombs has ended." If bombs were effective, they would have prevented the collapse of the former Soviet Union or the September 11th event, he said.
He noted that 180 States recognized Iran's right to nuclear technology, and no portion of the NPT said that Iran needed the vote of the United States to have access to nuclear technology. He questioned why Iran should shut down a nuclear development programme that had medical, biological and other uses. The United States' stance on Iran's access to nuclear power was just the latest example of decades of the United States Government's hostility towards Iran. "We have been under siege from economic sanctions from 1979â€¦ before our Government institutions were able to be shaped," he said. That hostility was a stand against Iran's development, he added.
Responding to a question about French President Jacques Chirac's recent remarks to revive talks on the issue, Mr. Ahmadi-Nejad said that Iran had carefully examined the package presented by the Europeans and it had presented a clear framework for the continuation of negotiations. "We have offered a framework and are negotiating a framework," he said, adding that his country had had a bitter experience in the past and promises had not been kept.
He invited members of the media to visit Iran's nuclear facilities, after a reporter asked why Iran's statements about its nuclear programme should be trusted. The President said that students, professors, sheep farmers and others were among the people who have seen the sites. "Would the US allow the press to visit their nuclear facilities?" he asked.
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