Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reaffirmed on Saturday his country's "inalienable right" to nuclear energy and invited other nations to join Iran in ensuring that Teheran is not producing nuclear weapons.
He told a press conference after delivering his speech to the 60th UN General Assembly that it is the "inalienable right" of Iran to peaceful use of nuclear energy, citing the relevant articles of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Iran is currently under the pressure of the European Union (EU) to again suspend its uranium conversion activities before today, when the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) meets.
The EU and the United States have threatened to refer Iran's nuclear case to the UN Security Council if Teheran defies the deadline.
The IAEA is to consider today whether to take the Iranian nuclear issue to the Security Council, a move the United States has been pushing.
In his speech at the United Nations, Ahmadinejad accused the Europeans and Americans of "misrepresenting" Iran's desire for civilian nuclear energy as "the pursuit of nuclear weapons."
"The Islamic Republic of Iran reiterates its previously and repeatedly declared position that in accordance with our religious principles, pursuit of nuclear weapons is prohibited," Ahmadinejad said.
He said that although Iran has rich oil resources, its fossil fuel may run out sooner or later. Therefore, it is only right for Teheran to turn to nuclear energy, he argued, noting that some countries with an oil output four times as much as Iran still have nuclear energy.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the UN on Saturday to be tough with Iran over the nuclear issue, but said there was still time for diplomacy.
She urged Iran to resume nuclear talks that broke down last month with the EU troika Britain, Germany and France or the Security Council should intervene.
"When diplomacy has been exhausted, the Security Council must become involved," she said.
British Foreign Minister Jack Straw said President Ahmadinejad's speech was disappointing.
"This was a disappointing and unhelpful speech by President Ahmadinejad," Straw told the BBC.
Iran Sunday warned the IAEA board against sending its atomic case to the UN Security Council.
"Our advice to the agency is to review Iran's case tomorrow logically and realistically to avoid making the case more complicated," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told a weekly news conference Sunday.
"We haven't started (uranium) enrichment yet but everything depends on the result of tomorrow's meeting," he said.
Source: China Daily