“Setting up secret prisons, abducting persons, trials and secret punishments without any regard to due process, extensive tapping of telephone conversations.”
George Bush, the US president, the fiercest critic of Iran, hardly mentioend the country.
But Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, and Angela Merkel, the Germany chancellor, took up the issue instead.
“The countries that feel threatened … should prepare for defence, and even counterattack”
Adolfo Talpalar, Stockholm, Sweden
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France and Germany increased pressure on the Islamic republic, saying they would not accept a nuclear-armed Iran.
Merkel told the session: “Let’s not fool ourselves. If Iran were to acquire the nuclear bomb, the consequences would be disastrous.”
Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, said: “Iran is entitled to nuclear power for civilian purposes, but to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapon is an unacceptable risk to the stability of the region and the stability of the world.”
Bush told delegates: “In Belarus, North Korea, Syria, and Iran, brutal regimes deny their people the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration.”
Bush barely spoke about Iraq, where the US is seeking the assistance of the UN.
He got a smile from the Sudanese ambassador to the UN when he described the crisis in Darfur as genocide, and touted his country’s $2bn contribution towards humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts there.
Bush mentioned the efforts of Sarkozy to stop the Darfur conflict from spreading.
With Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s president, not attending this year’s General Assembly, Daniel Ortega, the Nicaraguan president, took on the role of challenging the Western powers for Latin America.
He said: “With what authority do they condemn the people of Iran who are working for the development of peaceful nuclear energy?
“But they have decided it is not for peaceful purposes. But who gave them the right?”