Ahmadinejad slams Western nation's 'nuclear intimidation'
By Tim Witcher, AFP
September 28, 2012, 12:02 am TWN
UNITED NATIONS--Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the West and Israel of nuclear "intimidation" on Wednesday, after U.S. President Barack Obama vowed to halt Tehran's alleged weapon program.
U.S. and Israeli officials boycotted the Iranian's eighth annual address to the U.N. General Assembly, and there was no repeat of the walk-outs of previous years, but Ahmadinejad still had some harsh words for Tehran's foes.
"Arms race and intimidation by nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction by the hegemonic powers have become prevalent," he declared in a 35-minute speech that ended with a smattering of applause.
"Continued threats by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation are a clear example of this bitter reality," he added, in his only reference to Israel.
Western powers believe that Iran's uranium enrichment program is tooled to produce enough fissile matter to arm a nuclear weapon that would upset the balance of power in an already volatile Middle East.
Iran insists it has a right to civilian nuclear research and has defied international economic sanctions and clear threats from Israel that it would launch a pre-emptive strike rather than see Tehran get the bomb.
On Tuesday, Obama reiterated the United States' stance in robust terms, declaring that American will "do what we must" to prevent Iran from passing the nuclear threshold — increasing the chances of confrontation.
Foreign ministers from the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany will meet in New York on Thursday on the sidelines of the United Nations to discuss the increasingly tense nuclear showdown.
Ahmadinejad's last stay in New York as president has been marked as usual by new condemnation of Israel which he refuses to mention by name, calling them the "uncultured Zionists" or a "fake regime."
The United States boycotted the U.N. speech because of his attacks.
"We've seen Mr. Ahmadinejad once again use his trip to the U.N. not to address the l egitimate aspirations of the Iranian people but to instead spout paranoid theories and repulsive slurs against Israel," said U.S. spokeswoman Erin Pelton.