United Nations (CNN) — Delegates from the United States, the United Kingdom and France walked out Monday as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad blasted America and Israel at a global gathering on disarmament and offered his own ideas to thwart the spread of nuclear weapons.
Ahmadinejad spoke at the Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.
Also at the conference, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Monday for tougher actions against nations that have signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty but that are found to be in violation of the agreement, saying “potential violators must know that they will pay a high price if they break the rules.”
“We must use all of the possible financial and legal tools to disrupt illicit proliferation networks,” Clinton said at a United Nations conference on the treaty. Ahmadinejad said he deplores the possession and use of nuclear arms and called the weapons “a fire against humanity” rather than weapons “for defense. ” He said nuclear-weapon states want to “monopolize” the weapons and “peaceful nuclear energy.” His blunt criticism of the West sparked the walkout by the lower-level Western diplomats.
Ahmadinejad spoke . The conference has been held every five years for nations to discuss how to cut the world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons.
Iran’s nuclear program has been controversial. Western nations say Iran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons and they have been working to stop its efforts. Tehran says its program is aimed strictly at developing nuclear energy, and Ahmadinejad reiterated that stance.
He said those who “carried out the first atomic bombardment are among the most hated individuals in human history,” a reference to the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. He said the United States continues to threaten to use such weaponry against other countries, including Iran.
“The first atomic weapons were produced and used by the United States,” he said. “This seemed, apparently, to provide the United States and its allies with the upper hand in World War II. However, it became the main source of the development and the spread of nuclear weapons by the others and brought about the nuclear arms race,” he said, adding that Washington has “never respected” any of its nonproliferation commitments.
He also said Israel has been stockpiling nuclear weapons and threatens its neighbors. Israel has never confirmed that it possesses nuclear arms.
“While the Zionist regime — which has stockpiled hundreds of nuclear warheads — has waged many wars in the region and continues to threaten the people and nations of the region with terror and invasion, [it] enjoys the unconditional support of the United States government and its allies and receives, as well, the necessary assistance to develop its nuclear weapons program.”
Ahmadinejad touted the use of nuclear energy as “among the cleanest and cheapest sources of energy.”
“Severe climate change and environmental pollution caused by fossil fuel has intensified the need to expand the use of nuclear energy,” he said. “The nuclear technology can be effectively and widely applied in the production of medical isotopes for diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening diseases as well as in industry, agriculture and in other fields.”
Ahmadinejad wants “dismantling of nuclear weapons stationed in the military bases of the United States and its allies in other countries, including Germany, Italy, Japan and the Netherlands” and suspending of membership in the United Nations’ atomic energy agency for states that use or threaten to use nuclear weapons.
The Iranian leader called for “transparent, binding and effective mechanisms buttressed with solid international guarantees” to achieve nuclear disarmament and called for an independent international group to pursue that end.
He called for “termination of all types of research, development or improvement of nuclear weapons and their related facilities” and adoption of a legally binding measure prohibiting “production, stockpiling, improvement, proliferation, maintaining and use of nuclear weapons.”
Ahmadinejad advocated “immediate and unconditional implementation” of a Mideast nuclear-free zone.
Also, he said, “any threat to use nuclear weapons or attack against peaceful nuclear facilities” should be considered “a breach of international peace and security, and swift reaction from the United Nations and termination of all cooperation of [nonproliferation treaty] member states with the threatening/aggressor state.”
The “era of reliance” of some nations on “nuclear weaponry has passed,” Ahmadinejad said.
“Rather than continuing with the failed policy of the predecessors, it would be better to join the wide and transparent ocean of nations, independent states and human wisdom and culture. This would be in our best interest,” he said, adding “There will be no room in the future for bullying and the arrogant.”
He urged U.S. President Obama to join the “humane movement” Ahmadinejad espoused “if he is still committed to his motto of ‘change,’ since tomorrow would be too late for this.”