Iran calls for new nuclear body

Ahmadinejad demands independent oversight of disarmament while opening two-day conference.

    Iran says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes and not to develop a nuclear weapon [AFP]

    "This group should act in a way where all independent countries and governments could have a say and role in running the affairs of that group.

    "Until now the presence and political domination of the agency has prevented them from carrying out their duties and has diverted the agency from performing its legal obligations."

    'Western bias'

    As such, Ahmadinejad said the US should not be allowed to be on the IAEA's board of governors.

    "[Those who] possess, have used or threatened to use nuclear weapons [should] be suspended from the IAEA and its board of governors, especially the US which has used a weapon made of atomic waste in the Iraq war," he said. 

    Mohammad Marandi, the head of the North American Studies department at the University of Tehran, said the speech was targeting a global audience.

    "Most countries in the world do feel that the UN Security Council as well as the IAEA board of governors is not democratic, so it is something that most people in the south have a great deal of sympathy with," he told Al Jazeera.

    "The problem that Iran is facing right now is the fact that western countries are very much biased against the country.

    "So he is using this opportunity to point out Iran's position and show that it is a very reasonable and logical one and the reason that Iran is unable to get its voice across is because these bodies are undemocratic."

    'Atomic criminal'

    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, also addressed the summit, ruling out any use of nuclear weaponry as "haram", or religiously prohibited under Islam.

    Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran's foreign minister, talks to Al Jazeera about the Tehran summit

    He also criticised the US, calling it an "atomic criminal" whose nuclear weapons represent a tool of terror and intimidation.

    "Only the US government has committed an atomic crime," he said.

    "The world's only atomic criminal lies and presents itself as being against nuclear weapons proliferation, while it has not taken  any serious measures in this regard."

    Twenty-four foreign and deputy foreign ministers were expected to attend the summit, dubbed "Nuclear Energy for All, Nuclear Weapons for No One", state media reported.

    The names of the countries represented were not given in the report, but European and other Western officials were not thought likely to attend.

    Necessity of disarmament

    Speaking to Al Jazeera in advance of the meeting, Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran's foreign minister, said that the Iranian government was stressing the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

    "Last week, we celebrated successful steps in nuclear activities for Iran, and in that meeting with Ahmadinejad [the president], we stressed that nuclear energy must be for everybody," he said.

    "While Washington discussed the protection of nuclear material, in this coming conference we will emphasise the necessity of disarmament."

    Iran criticised the 47-nation nuclear security summit hosted in Washington earlier this week by Obama on the grounds that the US holds one of the world's largest stocks of nuclear weapons.

    Officials from Iran were not invited but Mottaki told Al Jazeera that he would have considered attending if invited.

    Tehran says that it is entitled to continue work on its controversial uranium enrichment programme while a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and strongly denies it wants nuclear weapons.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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