ahmadinejad speaks 88.
(photo credit: )
Iran's nuclear activities are "transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eye" of United Nations inspectors, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the UN General Assembly.
In a speech Tuesday, Ahmadinejad accused some permanent members of the UN Security Council - an apparent reference to the United States - of using the powerful UN body as a tool of "threat and coercion." He reiterated his nation's commitment to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
His speech was sharply critical of the United States and Britain, and focused in large part on what he said was their abuse of the Security Council, on which they are both permanent members with veto power.
"If they have differences with a nation or state, they drag it to the Security Council and as claimants, arrogate to themselves simultaneously the roes of prosecutor, judge and executioner," Ahmadinejad said. "Is this a just order?"
Earlier, US President George W. Bush had said that the United States has no objection to Iran's pursuit of a peaceful nuclear energy program, but the Teheran regime must "abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions" and agree to immediate negotiations or face consequences.
Speaking to Iranians, Bush said their country's future has been clouded because "your rulers have chosen to deny you liberty and to use your nation's resources to fund terrorism and fuel extremism and pursue nuclear weapons."
Full text of Bush's speech to the General Assembly
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was not present at the General Assembly during Bush's speech, avoiding any possible contact with the US president.
Earlier Tuesday, Bush said that it was time for Iran to immediately begin negotiations on its nuclear program and warned Teheran that delay would bring consequences.
French President Jacques Chirac said Tuesday that he did not want to set a new deadline for Iran to suspend nuclear activities, despite Teheran's defiance of UN Security Council demands.
"We are committed to negotiations and therefore to dialogue. So we're not going to start by setting deadlines that are a few hours long," Chirac told reporters at the United Nations. "This is a process that is under way and I hope it will run its course."
Bush also appealed to Muslims to assure them that the United States is not waging war with Islam as he laid out a vision for peace in the Middle East before skeptical world leaders at the United Nations.
But his speech to the United Nations General Assembly was less confrontational and aimed at building bridges with people in the Middle East angry with the United States.
"My country desires peace," Bush told world leaders in the cavernous main hall at the UN. "Extremists in your midst spread propaganda claiming that the West is engaged in a war against Islam. This propaganda is false and its purpose is to confuse you and justify acts of terror. We respect Islam."
Addressing Iraqis specifically, Bush said, "We will not abandon you in your struggle to build a free nation."
On the crisis in Sudan's violence-wracked region of Darfur, Bush delivered strong warnings to both the United Nations and the Sudanese government, saying that both must act now to avert a further humanitarian crisis.
Bush said that if the Sudanese government does not withdraw its rejection of a UN peacekeeping force for Darfur, the world body should act over the government's objections. The UN Security Council last month passed a resolution that would give the UN control over the peacekeeping mission in Darfur, now run mostly ineffectively by the African Union. But Sudan has refused to give its consent.
"The regime in Khartoum is stopping the deployment of this force," Bush said. "If the Sudanese government does not approve this peacekeeping force quickly, the United Nations must act."
With more than 200,000 people already killed in three years of fighting in Darfur and the violence threatening to increase again, Bush said the "credibility of the United Nations is at stake."