Iran Complains About Nuclear Double Standards
RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Ahmadinejad of trying to divert attention from Iran's record of violating its international obligations. She also revealed exactly how many nuclear weapons the United States has - 5,013. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.
MICHELE KELEMEN: Secretary Clinton says the Obama administration had a vigorous debate about releasing information on the country's nuclear arsenal and decided that it's a good way to show that the U.S. is committed to nuclear disarmament.
HILLARY CLINTON: We are attempting to make progress toward a world without nuclear weapons in a clear-eyed, practical, realistic way, consistent with our security. And we think releasing this information furthers that goal.
KELEMEN: Secretary Clinton says she's also looking for practical ways to move toward a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. The U.S. is often criticized for not talking about Israel's undeclared nuclear weapons capability. Clinton argues that the U.S. shares the goal of a nuclear-free Middle East, but the region needs to move toward peace, and Iran has to be held to account for its suspect nuclear program.
CLINTON: Now, given the lack of a comprehensive regional peace and concerns about some countries' compliance with NPT safeguards, the conditions for such a zone do not yet exist. But we are prepared to support practical measures for moving toward that objective.
KELEMEN: Delegates will work over the course of the next month to try to tackle some of these issues. And Clinton urged them not to let Iran divide them. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the only head of state to attend the opening day. Speaking through an interpreter, he complained about double standards in the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD: (Through translator) Regrettably, the United States has not only used nuclear weapons, but also continues to threaten to use such weapons against other countries, including my country.
KELEMEN: And the Iranian leader argued that the U.S. shouldn't be the one taking the lead in the NPT review conference.
AHMADINEJAD: (Through translator) There's an Iranian saying that reads: A knife never cuts its own handle. Expecting major arms dealers to work for security is an illogical expectation.
KELEMEN: The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano, said he has not been able to confirm that all of Iran's nuclear material is devoted to peaceful activities.
YUKIYA AMANO: Because Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation.
KELEMEN: Secretary Clinton said that Iran was the only country in the room that has not been complying with the IAEA. And she said it was clear that the Iranian president did not come to support the Non-Proliferation Treaty.
CLINTON: He came to distract attention from his own government's failure to live up to its international obligations, to evade accountability for defying the international community, and to undermine our shared commitment to strengthening the treaty. But he will not succeed.
KELEMEN: Michele Kelemen, NPR News, New York.
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