Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday defended Iran's nuclear activities, criticized Washington's Middle East policy and called for the reform of the United Nations.
He stated his stance when addressing the UN General Assembly, saying Iran was committed to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and all of Iran's nuclear activities were "transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eyes" of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
To develop a peaceful nuclear program was Iran's "legally recognized right," Ahmadinejad said.
The UN Security Council passed a resolution in July, calling on Iran to suspend the uranium enrichment activities by the end of August. Iran, however, has refused to abide by the resolution, and the United States has since sought UN Security Council sanctions against the Islamic country.
In his speech, Ahmadinejad also criticized Washington for its Middle East policy. "Not a day goes by without hundreds of people getting killed in cold blood," he said, in an apparent reference to the U.S. occupation of Iraq.
"There is no indication that the occupiers have the necessary political will to eliminate the sources of instability," said the Iranian leader.
On the Palestine issue, the Iranian president vehemently accused Israel of constantly posing a threat to and creating insecurity in the Middle East region. He also said Israel had been used by some powers as an instrument of division, coercion, and pressure on the people of the region.
On the recent situation in Lebanon, he criticized the Security Council for sitting idly by while the Lebanese had lived under the barrage of fire for over a month.
"The Security Council was practically incapacitated by certain powers to even call for a cease-fire," he said.
On UN reform, Ahmadinejad said the present structure and working methods of the Security Council were "legacies of the Second World War," which "are not responsive to the expectations of the current generation and the contemporary needs of humanity."
"The persistence of some hegemonic powers in imposing their exclusionist policies on international decision making mechanisms, including the Security Council, has resulted in a growing mistrust in global public opinion, undermining the credibility and effectiveness of this most universal system of collective security," he said.
The Iranian president said that the Security Council most critically and urgently needed legitimacy and effectiveness, adding that as long as the council was unable to act on behalf of the entire international community in a transparent, just and democratic manner, it would neither be legitimate nor effective.
The president said the role of the General Assembly, as the UN highest organ, must be respected.
He suggested that through appropriate mechanisms, the General Assembly could take on the task of reforming the UN and particularly rescue the Security Council from its current state.
In the interim, he proposed, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the African Continent should each have a representative as a permanent member of the Security Council, with veto privilege.