Thursday, September 15, 2005

Iran leader warns U.N. not to follow U.S.

USA Today:

Posted 9/15/2005 2:08 AM Updated 9/15/2005 2:04 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran's new hard-line president skirted the nuclear dispute with Europe and the United States on Wednesday in his General Assembly debut.

But with a possible showdown looming between his country and the U.N. Security Council, he warned the world body not to bend to U.S. pressure and scolded the Americans for a dispute over the visa he was given to attend the summit.

Iran, which is under mounting pressure to halt its uranium conversion, says its nuclear technology is for the peaceful production of energy. The United States and other countries suspect Iran may be seeking to produce nuclear weapons and have warned they may refer it to the U.N. Security Council for possible sanctions.

President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad said taking punitive measures over intentions rather than actions contradicts the principles of the U.N.

"The raison d'etre of the United Nations is to promote global peace and tranquility," he told the General Assembly.

"Therefore, any license for pre-emptive measures which are essentially based on gauging intentions rather than objective facts ... is a blatant contradiction to the very foundation of the United Nations and the letter and the spirit of its charter," he said. The United States and European countries warned last week that Tehran is running out of time to freeze uranium processing activities or face referral to the Security Council.

Tehran has dismissed the threat. On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said his country wants to continue dialogue on the issue with Europe without preconditions.

Britain, France and Germany have been negotiating with Iran on the nuclear issue. Iran and the United States have not had diplomatic ties since 1979, when Iranian militants stormed the U.S. Embassy and kept 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. When Ahmedinejad, who was elected in June, spoke Wednesday, the United States left two low-level staff members to take notes.

The State Department had said if Ahmedinejad were not a head of state, he would not have been entitled to a visa because of suspicions he may have been involved in the embassy takeover.

Ahmedinejad said the United Nations should confront the "vicious malady" of unilateralism — an apparent reference to the United States.


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