Iran slams anti-nuclear weapons treaty as discriminatory
By Louis Charbonneau
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Discriminatory implementation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has left many countries feeling that being a party to the anti-atom bomb pact hinders cooperation in the field atomic energy, Iran's U.N. ambassador said on Monday.
Western diplomats and analysts have long expressed concern that Iran might one day follow North Korea's example and pull out of the NPT and produce a bomb. North Korea withdrew from the treaty in 2003 and tested nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009.
Speaking at a meeting of the U.N. General Assembly on the annual report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee sought to assure countries that despite Tehran's reservations about the way the treaty is enforced, Iran does not plan to pull out.
"Iran ... is fully committed to its legal obligations, and its nuclear activities are, and have always been, exclusively for peaceful purposes," Khazaee said. He added that Tehran considers development of the full nuclear fuel cycle an "inalienable right" under the NPT.
Western powers and their allies fear Iran is amassing the capability to produce atomic weapons, an allegation Tehran rejects. The Security Council has imposed four rounds of sanctions on Iran for refusing to halt nuclear-fuel work, but Tehran has pressed ahead with uranium enrichment.
Khazaee accused the United States, Britain and France of supplying Israel - which is not a party to the 1970 treaty aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear arms and is widely assumed to be the Middle East's sole nuclear power - with atomic "assistance and cooperation."
"The application of a discriminatory, selective, highly restrictive and politically motivated approach in nuclear cooperation ... has given rise to this impression that being an NPT party is not a privilege, because rather than facilitating, it impedes nuclear cooperation," he said.
Israel neither confirms nor denies having nuclear arms. Continued...