VIENNA - Iran criticized the United States on Monday for announcing that talks on banning atomic arms in the Middle East would not take place as planned this year, accusing it of causing a "serious setback" to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
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The US State Department said on Friday that the mid-December conference on creating a zone free of weapons of mass destruction would not occur and did not make clear when, or whether, it would take place.
Iran, which is accused by the West of developing a nuclear weapons capability, said this month it would participate in the meeting that had been due to take place in Helsinki, Finland.
Asked about the US announcement, Iranian nuclear envoy Ali Asghar Soltanieh told state broadcaster Press TV from Vienna:
"It is a serious setback to the NPT and this is a clear sign that the US is not committed to the obligation of a world free of nuclear weapons."