Ahmadinejad calls for U.S. to destroy its nuclear arsenal first
Ahmadinejad says U.S. must disarm first
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad drew applause at a nuclear disarmament conference in Tehran attended by representatives of 60 countries when he called for the destruction of all atomic weapons, starting with those in the U.S. arsenal.
The two-day forum, which employed the catchphrase "nuclear energy for all, nuclear weapons for none," came about a week after the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, to which the Islamic republic was not invited. The United States was not invited to the Tehran conference.
Ahmadinejad took particular aim at President Obama's announcement this month of a new U.S. policy that does not rule out the use of nuclear weapons against Iran and North Korea. "Threatening with nuclear weapons only dishonored the American government officials and more fully exposed their inhumane and aggressive policies," Ahmadinejad said.
Taking direct issue with the consensus reached in Washington to take steps to reduce the world's stock of nuclear weapons, Ahmadinejad called for more rigorous action.
He demanded an end to what he called the United States' "blind support" for Israel, which he said has 200 atomic warheads but has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Ahmadinejad also called for veto power for all members of the United Nations, a right now accorded only to the five permanent members of the Security Council.
Talks on nuclear disarmament should henceforth be controlled by states that do not have atomic weapons, Ahmadinejad said, adding, "The involvement of the government of America will prevent any new treaty from being fair."
-- Thomas Erdbrink
Obama has 'no plans' to respond to letter
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sent a letter to President Obama last month, the White House confirmed Saturday, although neither the United States nor Iran disclosed details about what it said.
"We are not going to get into details on the content of the correspondence at this time," said Mike Hammer, a spokesman for the National Security Council. He added, "We have no plans to respond to the letter because there was nothing to respond to."