Iran on Monday rejected pressure to submit to intrusive nuclear inspections while Israel is outside the global treaty to curb atomic weapons. "The existing double standard shall not be tolerated anymore by nonnuclear-weapon states," Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh told a meeting of the countries in the 190-nation Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. He said nuclear armed countries such as the United States, France and Britain were practicing "nuclear apartheid" by clandestinely providing nuclear supplies to favored countries while denying or restricting peaceful nuclear technology to countries like Iran. "Access of developing countries to peaceful nuclear materials and technologies has been continuously denied to the extent that they have had no choice than to acquire their requirements for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, including for medical and industrial applications from open markets," Soltanieh said. This usually means the material provided is more expensive, poorer quality and less safe, he added. Nuclear safeguards are far from universal, Soltanieh said, adding that more than 30 countries are still without a comprehensive safeguard agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure full cooperation with the nuclear watchdog. "Israel, with huge nuclear weapons activities, has not concluded" such an agreement or submitted its facilities to the IAEA's safeguards, he said. The United States accused Iran of "provocative and destabilizing activities" and said its leaders were responsible for leading the country into the sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council aimed at encouraging Iranian compliance with the treaty. "The path of defiance is also the path of isolation, of continuing and additional sanctions and of further stunted economic opportunities for a proud and sophisticated people already suffering from economic turmoil and mismanagement by its regime's leaders," said Christopher A. Ford, U.S. special representative for nuclear nonproliferation. Ford said Iran joined North Korea and Syria in weakening the nonproliferation treaty. "This treaty regime faces today the most serious tests it has ever faced: the ongoing nuclear weapons proliferation challenges presented by Iran, by North Korea and now by Syria," Ford said. He said North Korea's nuclear weapons program poses a threat to regional and global security. And he cited U.S. allegations that Syria "until several months ago was secretly constructing a nuclear reactor that we believe was not intended for peaceful purposes." Syria said last week that the U.S. allegations about the reactor, reportedly destroyed by Israeli bombs, were manufactured.