News / Middle East

UN Airs New Concerns After Iran Says Nuclear Program Peaceful

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, August 30, 2012.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran, August 30, 2012.
VOA News
Iran's Supreme Leader says his country is not pursuing nuclear weapons but will not give up its national right for peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei spoke to the Non-Aligned Movement's summit meeting in Tehran Thursday, even as the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog publicized new concerns about Iran's controversial nuclear program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has more than doubled the production capacity of its uranium enrichment program at a secure underground site known as Fordo.

The U.N. agency also said in a report Thursday that "extensive activities" - referring to an alleged purge of clean-up evidence - at Iran's Parchin military complex would hinder its ability to investigate the scope of Iran's nuclear work.

On Wednesday, the U.N. watchdog announced that it had created a task force to investigate Iran's nuclear program.

Enrichment controversial

The enrichment is controversial because it brings uranium to a level close to what is needed to build a nuclear weapon. Iran says the program is for peaceful purposes and the enriched uranium is needed for medical research.

But the United States, Israel and other some countries believe Iran is secretly trying to build nuclear weapons.   

Iran has been seeking to use its previously-scheduled three-year leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement to gain support for its policy on nuclear enrichment, and for its opposition to Israel and the West.
 
The supreme leader's speech also took aim at the U.N. Security Council, describing it as illogical, unjust and a defunct relic of the past that the United States uses "to impose their bullying manner on the world."

In remarks at the same conference, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Iran to ease concerns by "fully complying" with Security Council resolutions and cooperating with the IAEA.  Iran is under a series of U.N. sanctions for defying Council resolutions on its enrichment program.

Officials say that at a private meeting Wednesday, the secretary-general called on Iranian leaders to take "concrete" steps to address international concerns about its nuclear program, as speculation grows of a possible Israeli airstrike on Iran's enrichment facilities.

Ban called on both Iran and Israel to tone down their rhetoric.

The U.N. Security Council has rejected Iran's assurances of a peaceful nuclear program in the absence of inspections and an agreement not to enrich uranium beyond a middle level of purity.

The Non-Aligned Movement was organized during the Cold War to provide a forum for countries that were allied with neither the United States nor the Soviet Union. But since the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991 the grouping has struggled for both identity and clout.

Iran criticized

Iran faced some critical comments at the summit on Thursday on issues besides its nuclear program.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi launched a sharp attack on Iran's ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying he leads an "oppressive" regime that has lost its legitimacy. The Syrian delegation walked out in protest.

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took a more moderate line on Syria, calling for a political process to end the conflict.

And he struck a popular Non-Aligned Movement theme by calling for a greater voice for developing countries on world issues. But he also called for action on issues in which Iran is involved.

"These include international terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the menace of maritime piracy, the growing threat to cyber security and the growing challenge of pursuing ecologically sustainable development,'' Singh said.

Iran benefits limited

Iran expert Mark Fitzpatrick of London's International Institute for Strategic Studies says Iran will get some benefit from its leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement, but as Thursday's session illustrated, the benefits will be limited.

"I think Iran will be able to utilize its leadership of the NAM in ways favorable to Iran's foreign policy," he said. "But whether this means that Iran can persuade other countries in the NAM to take steps that they wouldn't otherwise take, these are just 'talk shops.' They don't have any practical impact."

Fitzpatrick says having 120 countries represented at the meeting, with more than two dozen heads of state and government, does at least temporarily ease Iran's diplomatic isolation.

But he and other experts say it was bound to be difficult for Iran to convince so many diverse countries to adhere to its policy agenda, particularly when most of the countries are participating in the sanctions and many have voted against Iran at U.N. nuclear watchdog meetings.

VOA's Al Pessin contributed to this report from London.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters

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Comments page of 3
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by: PJW5552 from: USA
August 30, 2012 1:12 PM
To date, there is no evidence Iran has made a decision to create nuclear weapons grade material. Other than a desire to assert independence, why doesn't Iran simply allow inspectors in, so people are comfortable they will not direct their enrichment towards such an end? Expansion and secrecy in Iran leave many people wary about trusting Iran. That doesn't help, but rather hurts everyone!

In Response

by: Plain Mirror from: Ivory Coast
September 01, 2012 11:12 AM
There is great sense in this statement. Irrespective of anything, Iran please, be plain like the plain mirror by allowing peaceful coordinated inspection of your program so that you can get more confidence of the people.

In Response

by: Grant from: Michigan
August 31, 2012 10:20 AM
@ Qing, the alternative is having a nuke armed regime that has zero regard for its own SUBJECTS ( they are not citizens if they live with a boot on their throat) safety and well being bent on the destruction of all other faiths but the Shiite twelver sect of islam. It is in thier charter to spread Islam to humanity. and that charter is based on the direct words writtin in their fairy tale book. Peace to them is everyone under the shiite caliphate. that is the only peace they want. I do belive that china just wants the same thing most nations want, a strong economy with people based on the words of Karl Marx which were then very mutated and twisted into "marxism". there is no fear of the chinese lighting off there nuke fire works unless it is to deter an invasion bent on the distruction of their governments way of life. the occupying IRI on the other hand is not that way.

In Response

by: QING from: CHINA
August 30, 2012 9:13 PM
If Iran allowed inspectors to freely inspect their nuclear program, some Iran's enermies (USA, Israel) would take the chance to pinpoint the exact position and would launch air attacks to destroy all the facilities. the same thing happed to Iraq's nuclear plant. Can you be sure that the inspectors cannot be spying for Iran's foes?

In Response

by: PM from: canada
August 30, 2012 7:49 PM
Remember Iraq? The only reason America invaded as far as I could tell according to the media, was for the Weapons of Mass Destruction, which they never found. They invaded Afghanistan to get Osama, but turned out he was in Pakistan the whole time. I will not be surprised if the USA finds some excuse to invade another country. If there is no war how is the military industrial complex going to keep there stock rising and billionaire investors happy?


by: AM
August 30, 2012 1:07 PM
If you look at the evidence you will see that the systematic killing of Jews using gas chambers never happened. Aerial photos show no plumes of smoke over the alleged death camps . No evidence of Zyklon-B residue on the walls of the purported chambers. No mention of any genocide in the decrypted Nazi transmissions. Illogal waste of railway line bandwidth shared with infantry, not to mention the logistical issues. How could such a major endeavor remain secret until after the war? It was a hoax plain and simple that worked to the favor of Zionists and to the favor of the US and Britain who were looking for reasons to legitimize a firebombing act of terrorism on a city full of women and children.

In Response

by: Grant from: Michigan
August 31, 2012 9:47 AM
I really hope you are being sarcastic and arent this stupid or are a IRI regime member. you forgot to mention the eyewitness accounts of those you suffered, NOT just Jews, but blacks gays and gypsies all suffered in the death camps. also all the russian, british, and american troops that liberated the death camps. I mean pilates was devised to help bring the sufferers back to heath from their horrible condition they were left in under the nazi's "care".

In Response

by: bellator from: us
August 30, 2012 7:47 PM
Me thinks I smell a troll here. Begone foul internet troll! Begone!


by: Dr. Langhorne from: New York
August 30, 2012 1:01 PM
Now correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Mohamed instruct the faithful in the Koran that they are permitted to lie to their enemies in order to move forward victory over them. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't it a sin to hold hostages and aren't the Iranians world class kings in that arena?

In Response

by: Grant from: Michigan
August 31, 2012 9:37 AM
Do we really NEED an ancient fairy tale book to tell us that owning another human being is bad?!! a rather important tenant of the christian faith is to treat others as they should be treated. really most of the christian bible is written by people "interpreting" what they THINK jesus meant in what he said since he never wrote a single world and there are only about four books of eye witness accounts. the rest is fluff. but sure if you need a piece of paper to tell you things are wrong or right take a look at the bill of rights.

In Response

by: Sim
August 31, 2012 2:06 AM
To Truth:
According to Muslim law slavery is allowed too. even christianity does not critisize it. And the fact remains muslims are not to be trusted. No answer on that one.

In Response

by: Truth
August 30, 2012 8:52 PM
As Jews are permitted to do the same with non-Jews too. In fact, Jews are according to Jewish law still permitted to have slaves as long as they aren't Jewish. Look at your own culture first before criticizing others.


by: johnny sparks from: florida
August 30, 2012 1:01 PM
America
it might be time to reread our putt.
Iran has complied with UN inspectors,,,signed the proliferation Treaty,, suffered sanctions,,addressed issues openly,,,and have no good reason for War,,.i listen to them talk,,,,they sound reasonable to me.......Israel ,,on the other hand,,,has a history
of trying to take over countries,,oppression,,crimes against humanity,,,has a plan to take over the world,,,,will not comply
has nukes,,,has America under control,,is trying to take america to War,, has our economy under their guidance and has destroyed our way of life.
Think about it,,,,,Who is the bad guy?
just what really happened in Germany before and during WW2
The same families that run our country today,,
Ran Germany yesterday,,,crashed her economy,,and started the war,,,the same thing they are doing today,,,the zionist ran Germany,,,they run America,,,they run england,,,and france,,,and the plan is to run the world....
So,,,Who is the "Bad Guy"? look it up,, History is repeating..

In Response

by: Grant from: Michigan
August 31, 2012 9:31 AM
your moral compass is so messed up i am surprised you could find the direction your mouse is in to click on "reply". isreal is most likely an apartheid or old jim crowe south (from which it sounds like you might enjoy going back, i dont know". that is very possible and more likely. germany's economic situation after WWII had to do with the fance and england demanding war reparations and devaluing the mark, which your buddy hiltler stopped paying and started building his nazi dream. Isreal was conquered by many nations, most notably the persians, romans, muslims, and christians. since that time they have always wanted "their" land that "god" promised them. so all three main religions believe that Judea is theirs. it fulfils all end of days prophecies.

I am by no means a supporter of the apartheid government of Isreal, but they have a knife at their throat every day. mostly from all the shiite extremists and the occupying iranian regime. now if you lived on the edge of destruction every single day, wouldn't you like to have something to protect your way of life, at least as a deterent. and perhaps the isreal just wants everyone to think they have the bomb, deciet can be a powerful weapon too. just look at how the IRI regime uses it everyday to oppress its own people daily. you sir are by no means reading a true and factual history book perhaps looking outside of your militias reading material may inform you further. try a library.


by: love from: fl
August 30, 2012 12:57 PM
great! now disarm israel -everybody--just give up ALL the nukes bombs everywhere--they simply are foolish to have

In Response

by: Plain Mirror from: Ivory coast
September 01, 2012 11:22 AM
Absolutely foolish to have. Israel disarm, US disarm, then all will disarm and the world would be filled with milk and honey. Isn't it? Why not? It is!!!


by: Lla Ma from: Undisclosed Location
August 30, 2012 12:40 PM
Ayatollah Khamenei said they will not develop an "atomic bomb". He should have said Iran will not develop nuclear weapons of any kind. Carefully selected words from a crafty leader.


by: Michael from: U.S.
August 30, 2012 12:31 PM
Did the Iranian leader really use the word "controversial" when he said "will not abandon its controversial nuclear program"? I doubt it. Why don't you stick to reporting and inform your readers of facts. Or was this an opinion piece rather than news?


by: 93Marlin from: Michigan
August 30, 2012 12:27 PM
Oh, Ok. Well since he's said they won't, it makes OK now right? It's the words that count, isn't that what we are led to believe, not the actions. Say the right words and it makes everyone feel better, just never mind the knife in your back...........

In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 30, 2012 2:45 PM
Like trusting the terrorist. Iran's aim to have nuke is that when it's ready, it becomes a game of who strikes first, and it's a winner-takes-it-all affair. "Who feels it knows it", so said Jimmy Cliff's music. The civilized world feels it and knows what Iran's up to with nuclear program. That's the outcry. If Iran doesn't stop, it must go down for calling the bluff.


by: musawi melake from: no
August 30, 2012 11:04 AM
If the so called world powers want to persuade Iran or any other fledgling nuclear power from going back to zero, they should abandon their own arsenal, especially the hungry-looking Indians who are a threat to both regional and world peace.

In Response

by: Grant from: Michigan
August 31, 2012 8:21 AM
India?! REALLY?! thats who you find to be the biggest loose cannan?!! not a country that has deep DEEP ties to terrorist organizations, or that has such loose control over its military and own government. Like, oh I dont know... PAKISTAN!!! I'm worried more about the arsenal of Russia falling into the wrong hands before I am of the Indian's. you really need to do some research before you start shooting off at the mouth. And just to let you know, that is a charactoristic of the invasive regime that currently occupies Iran.

In Response

by: Saby from: India
August 31, 2012 2:54 AM
India surely does not have the capacity to be a threat to any country. It Is in itself much busy to see even the massacre i.e ethnic cleansing going on in Assam (North Eastern state) over the years. Such a country who has the audacity to turn a blind eye to their own personal problem, how is such a country be called as full of religious fanatics??? No! its not religious in any way!
i think reading any facts or fiction doesnt help about India may or may not help the perceptions of people around the world!

In Response

by: Hal from: Burton
August 30, 2012 1:12 PM
Please. What a foolish statement. India has threatened nobody with their arsenal. They are not a tyrannical regime, nor are they religious fanatics. This is what people like you fail to understand. Islamic extremists like the Ayatollah are fundamentally different from others in the world because they believe that their goal in this world is to bring about a time of great chaos and exterminate the Jews as their religious text commands. This will bring about the coming of the Mahdi (an Islamic messiah) who will take them to the promised land. These people are CRAZY. More dangerous than the Chinese and the Russians by far because of the simple fact. They don't care if they live or die. To die in the name of jihad and the destruction of Israel is a great honor for these maniacs.

It is clear that Iran are developing a nuclear weapon. The question is what they will do with it. Mahmoud I'madinnerjacket likely wants to use it to threaten their neighbors and prop up his country's political prestige. Khamenei.... he would fire the missile as soon as it was ready, right at the heart of Israel. The politics of nuclear armament be damned, these muztards must be stopped.

In Response

by: Praveen from: Hyderabad, India
August 30, 2012 1:05 PM
India a threat?? It is never been and never will be. Look how America is bombing on Pakistan poor people in name of terrorists. How America attacked Iraq which as it's ally earlier. We never had record of attacking any one unless they start it, and we only love peace. Read more about India before making comments.


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 30, 2012 11:03 AM
If you believe Khamenei, you will believe anything. Let's hear what he's got to say about the holocaust. Let's hear what he's got to say about Israel. These will form our opinion whether he wants weapon of mass destruction for fun. This also brings a link to Arafat's death: Could Iran have wanted his quick exit so as to increase attack on Israel? As for Morsi, he's dragged on two sides: either to side with Tehran just to increase pressure on Israel, or to side with his sunni moslem brothers against whom Iran is locked in bitter tussle. In the mean time it seems the later opinion sways him, but as you never know with moslems, you cannot predict where Morsi is going to hide his head. But if he fulfills the objective of Egypt's Arab Spring, then he's going, very soon, to be another Hitler in the Middle East.

In Response

by: elliot j. stamler from: new york, ny
August 30, 2012 1:09 PM
Adolf Hitler repeatedly and frequently declared his desire for peace and opposition to another continental war..right thru early 1939. Learn from history! Or else. Khameini and Iran are the Hitler and Nazi Germany of today-eventually,and soon, they must be destroyed or they will seek to destroy us. Khameini has repeatedly said,in Farsi to the Iranian people, that eventually war with America is inevitable. He means what he says-if we do not have the guts to face the reality we will duplicate the dreadful mistakes Churchill warned of in the 1930s.

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