Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the U.N. General Assembly
Tuesday that a few "bullying" world powers are trying to thwart what he
says is his country's peaceful nuclear program. He spoke only a few
hours after President Bush told the forum Iran's nuclear ambitions are
a threat to world civilization. VOA's David Gollust reports from our
The Iranian leader sounded a defiant tone at the
United Nations, where preliminary consultations have been held on a
possible fourth sanctions resolutions against Tehran in the Security
Council because of its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.
Ahmadinejad, in a policy address heavy with religious references, said
Iran like other countries has an "inalienable" right to peaceful
nuclear energy but said a few bullying world powers have tried to
thwart Iran's program through political and economic pressure.
International Atomic Energy Agency recently released a report detailing
Iranian non-cooperation with its effort to determine if Tehran has a
secret nuclear weapons program. But the Iranian President, said his government has fully cooperated with
IAEA inspectors, who he said should redirect their scrutiny to the
world's declared nuclear powers:
"The Iranian nation is for
dialogue. But it has not accepted and will not accept illegal demands.
The time has come for the IAEA to present a clear report to the
international community on its monitoring of the disarmament of the
nuclear powers and their nuclear activities, and for a disarmament
committee to be established by independent states to monitor the
disarmament of these nuclear powers," he said.
No senior U.S.
diplomats were present in the General Assembly hall for Mr.
Ahmadinejad's speech though the Iranian president and other officials
attended President Bush's speech earlier in the day.
Mr. Bush said Iran is among the few remaining countries that sponsor
terrorism and said its nuclear program, along with that of North Korea,
demands world attention. "We must remain vigilant against proliferation
- by fully implementing the terms of Security Council resolution 1540
and enforcing sanctions against North Korea and Iran. We must not
relent until our people are safe from this threat to civilization," he
Iran has refused to accept a big-power offer of economic
and diplomatic incentives to halt a uranium enrichment program believed
by the United States and European allies to be weapons related.
of State Condoleezza Rice had been expected to meet foreign minister
colleagues from the five permanent U.N. Security Council member
countries and Germany in New York on Thursday to discuss a possible new
sanctions resolution against Tehran.
However, a State Department
spokesman said late Tuesday the meeting would not be held. He did not
elaborate but the Russian foreign ministry said in Moscow it saw no
urgent need to schedule such a meeting amid the heavy volume of other
business of the new General Assembly session.
U.S.-Russian relations have been tense in recent weeks amid sharp American criticism of Moscow's intervention in Georgia.
administration officials have said there is a big power consensus for a
new sanctions resolution despite the Georgia disagreement, though
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said last week new sanctions were
Mr. Ahmadinejad's U.N. address, his fourth since
taking office in 2005, again included scathing references to Israel,
which he referred to as the Zionist regime, and which he said is on
what he termed "a definite slope to collapse."
In a new theme,
the Iranian President also asserted, what he termed, "the American
empire is reaching the end of its road." He said in earlier interviews
with U.S. media outlets that the current Wall Street financial crisis
stems from the economic burden of years of heavy U.S. military
involvement around the world.