Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mahdi Akhondzadeh said Wednesday that nuclear weapons have no place in Iran's defense doctrine, and accused "certain" states of double standards and hypocrisy - a clear allusion to Tehran's Western critics.
He zeroed in on France, a pivotal player in tightening sanctions on Iran, accusing it of having assisted Israel in developing nuclear weapons decades ago. The Jewish state is widely reputed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal.
France, a big exporter of civilian nuclear technology, built in the 1950s an Israeli reactor in the southern desert town of Dimona, a complex widely believed to have produced atomic bombs.
"While certain countries such as France express concerns over peaceful nuclear activities of Iran ... they have spared no effort in helping Israel ... to develop inhumane nuclear weapons," Akhondzadeh said.
"Indeed, France is the founder of Israel's clandestine nuclear weapons program," he told a meeting convened in Vienna to discuss the state of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), a voluntary 1970 pact.
Read full story here.