April 18, 2010 in Nation/World

Leaders call U.S. ‘nuclear scofflaw’

Iran hosts summit on disarmament
Borzou Daragahi And Ramin Mostaghim Los Angeles Times
Associated Press photo

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the International Conference on Disarmament and Non-Proliferation in Tehran, Iran, on Saturday.
(Full-size photo)

TEHRAN, Iran – Iran’s top political and religious authority lashed out at the United States at a nuclear disarmament conference Saturday in Tehran meant to counter a nonproliferation summit in Washington earlier in the week.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, described the United States as the world’s “only nuclear scofflaw.” He called Washington hypocritical for advocating arms control while retaining a huge nuclear weapons stockpile, and for accepting the atomic arsenal of Israel, which is not a signatory to the international treaty requiring transparency for its nuclear program.

“The deceptive policy by the only nuclear scofflaw, which falsely claims to be advocating the nonproliferation of nuclear arms while doing nothing substantive for this cause, will never succeed,” Khamenei said in comments read aloud by one of his closest advisers, former Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati.

Iran has faced international pressure over its nuclear technology and research program, which the West alleges is aimed at developing atomic weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is meant only for civilian ends.

Iranians are incensed over the Obama administration’s recent rewriting of the U.S. policy on nuclear weapons, which ruled out using such arms against non-nuclear countries that comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The U.S. says Iran has violated the treaty; Iran insists it is in compliance.

“Threats to use weapons, especially nuclear weapons, are made by those who have no clear logic and human thinking,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a speech.

Iran also condemned the recent nuclear nonproliferation conference in Washington, which was partly a precursor to seeking new sanctions against Iran at the U.N. Security Council.

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