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Iran calls Washington the world’s only nuclear ‘criminal’

By Reuters | 05 Jan 2013

Iran, whose relationship with the United States has worsened over its disputed nuclear program, blames Washington for violating a nuclear non-proliferation treaty and its failure to wipe out terrorism in Afghanistan.

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary, Saeed Jalili, who is on a visit to New Delhi spoke to reporters on Friday and denounced Washington for using nuclear weapons against innocent people.

“America is the only nuclear criminal in the whole world. It is the only country in the world, which has used nuclear weapons against innocent people. It is the only country that has the highest quantity of nuclear weapons at its disposal,” he said.

The United States and other Western powers have charged that Iran’s nuclear program is aimed at developing nuclear weapons, but Tehran insists the program is for peaceful purposes. Israel has said it would use military force to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

However, Jalili during the news conference told reporters that Iran’s engagements with the IAEA are stable and that the country believes in nuclear disarmament and peace.

“Our cooperation with the agency [International Atomic Energy Agency] is continuous and stable. It is our belief and we think that our cooperation with the agency helped in disarmament and non-proliferation,” he said.

Tehran has produced about 233 kilograms of higher-grade enriched uranium since 2010, an increase of 43 kg since August this year, according to the IAEA report issued in Vienna.

Of that amount, it has fed 96 kg for conversion into fuel for a medical research reactor in Tehran, it said.

Such conversions make it harder for the material to be processed into 90 percent, or bomb-grade, enriched uranium and could be a step by Tehran meant in part to counter Western suspicions of a covert atomic bomb program.

The IAEA report also said that “extensive activities” at the Parchin military compound - an allusion to suspected Iranian attempts to remove evidence - would seriously undermine an agency investigation into indications that research relevant to developing a nuclear explosive were conducted there.

Obama last year said he believed there was still a “window of time” to find a peaceful resolution to the decade-old standoff with Iran, avoiding a possible broader Middle East war that would batter a stumbling global economy.

Meanwhile, Jalili also questioned United States decade-long presence in Afghanistan and its failure to curb terrorism and drug-trafficking in the country.

“The question that rises is that U.S., which considers itself a super power, could not control or does not want to control terrorism and drug trafficking in Afghanistan. The question is has is not been able or whether it does not want to control it,” he said.

As the United States prepares for its own dispirited withdrawal from Afghanistan, it is worried about Iran gaining a strategic advantage in Afghanistan, after seeing Tehran win influence in Iraq following the 2003 U.S. invasion.

Iran is however optimist on talks with six major powers about its atomic program will begin very soon, the country’s top nuclear negotiator, Jalili said.

“We are coordinating all these things and we have accepted that these talks should be held in January, but until now, the details have not been finalized,” he said.

Last week, Russian media said the six world powers - the United States, Russia, France, Britain, Germany and China - were still negotiating with the Islamic Republic on a possible date and venue for the talks.