: A senior Iranian official said that Israel’s undeclared nuclear weapons pose the greatest threat to Mideast peace.
According to The Associated Press, Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Mahdi Akhondzadeh accused the United States and other nuclear powers of hypocritically ignoring their disarmament commitments.
Akhondzadeh made the comments to a 189-nation nonproliferation meeting, reflecting Iran’s attempts to deflect international concerns that its nuclear activities could be turned to making weapons.
Akhondzadeh, who avoided direct mention of the United States, criticized “certain nuclear-weapon states”, likely referring to the U.S., Britain and France.
He also described Israel as posing “the gravest threat to the stability and security” of the Middle East, according to AP.
Israel has never confirmed it but is widely assumed to be the only Mideast nation to possess nuclear arms.
Akhondzadeh also criticized “certain nuclear-weapon states” that have ratified the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, saying their stockpile of weapons “and their continued modernization … (is) the most serious threat to the survival of mankind.”
He accused these countries of “lack of effective and systematic progress towards implementing nuclear disarmament obligations” under commitments to the Nonproliferation Treaty.
“Certain nuclear-weapon states are expected to display sincerity and political will rather than hypocrisy with regard to their nuclear disarmament obligations,” Akhondzadeh said.
Iran will hold negotiations with the United States, France, Russia, China, Germany and Britain over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in Baghdad on May 23.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has expressed hope that the next round of talks with the six powers will mark “the beginning of the end of the nuclear issue.”
Previous talks were held in Istanbul last month. The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said they had been constructive.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said after the talks that he felt Iran had been “given a freebie. It’s got five weeks to continue enrichment without any limitation.”
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