Clinton fires back at Iranian president's accusation against U.S.

10:29, May 04, 2010      

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fired back at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday calling his presence a distraction from improving the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) at the month- long Review Conference.

"It appears Iran's president came here today with no intention of improving the NPT," Clinton told reporters after she spoke in the United Nations General Assembly hall. "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."

In his speech, Ahmadinejad lambasted the U.S. as being hypocritical and not doing enough to reduce the number of atomic weapons in the country's vast arsenals. He also claimed Iran had accepted the proposal by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to refuel the Tehran research reactor.

However, Clinton said the international community has not seen any indication that Iran would accept the IAEA's October proposal or any variant that would achieve the confidence-building goals that were intended.

"Iran has a history of making confusing, contradictory and inaccurate statements designed to convey the impression that it has adopted a flexible attitude towards the proposal," she said. " We have heard some destructive rhetoric, rhetoric meant to divide and obstruct us and we cannot let that rhetoric stand."

The West has accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. But Iran, which is a member of the NPT, denies the allegations and insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.

United Nations Security Council sanctions are the "only way to get attention of Iran's leadership," she said adding that the U.S. would still welcome a legitimate and good-faith response from Tehran.

"We have reached out in many different ways," she said. "Time and time again, we have demonstrated our commitment to the two- track process, the track of engagement and then the track of pressure. We are on the pressure track but it is within the United Nations that we are seeking that pressure."

Source: Xinhua


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