Iran Tells U.N. Nuclear Program Peaceful

By SCHEHEREZADE FARAMARZI

Associated Press

September 20, 2006

UNITED NATIONS — Iran's nuclear activities are "transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eye" of United Nations inspectors, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday.

Taking the world stage at the U.N. General Assembly hours after President Bush, he also some permanent members of the Security Council -- an apparent reference to the United States -- of using the powerful body as a tool of "threat and coercion."

He reiterated his nation's commitment to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as it faces accusations that it is seeking to develop atomic weapons.

His speech was sharply critical of the United States and Britain, and focused in large part on what he said was their abuse of the Security Council, on which they are both permanent members with veto power.

"The question needs to be asked: if the governments of the United States or the United Kingdom, who are permanent members of the Security Council, commit aggression, occupation and violation of international law, which of the U.N. organs can take them into account," he said.

"If they have differences with a nation or state, they drag it to the Security Council and as claimants, arrogate to themselves simultaneously the roes of prosecutor, judge and executioner," he added said. "Is this a just order?"

The U.S. and Britain played central roles in helping craft a U.N. Security Council resolution passed in July that gave Iran until Aug. 31 to suspend uranium enrichment and asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to report on Tehran's compliance, dangling the threat of sanctions if Iran refused. Tehran made clear even before the deadline expired that it had no intention of suspending uranium enrichment.

The Iranian leader also had harsh words about U.S. efforts in Iraq, saying "the occupiers are incapable of establishing security in Iraq" and every day hundreds of people get killed "in cold blood."

Ahmadinejad claimed that numerous terrorists apprehended by the Iraqi government were "let loose under various pretexts by the occupiers."

"It seems that intensification of hostilities and terrorism serves as a pretext for the continued presence of foreign forces in Iraq," he said.