New York: Iran’s firebrand President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has questioned the authenticity of Pentagon’s disclosure that US has 5,113 warheads, saying that there were “several thousand" more retired warheads awaiting the junkpile.
Ahamdinejad is in New York for the month long Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference.
He refuted allegations that Iran was trying to build the nuclear bomb. The rebuttal is probably in order to avoid a new round of Security Council sanctions.
"Perhaps there should be an independent body to verify what the U.S. Government declares," Reuters quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
"If the U.S. government expects everyone to trust what it says, it is unfair for the U.S. to not trust what others say," he added.
Taking a hard-line stance the Iranian President said new sanctions would signal an end to his country’s diplomatic engagement with the Obama administration.
"While we do not welcome sanctions, we do not fear them either," he said.
Other UN Security Council powers seemed unmoved by Ahmadinejad’s statements.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei A. Ryabkov said on Tuesday, he was "reasonably optimistic" that an agreement can be reached on a fourth round of sanctions over Tehran''''s uranium enrichment program.
"I do believe the talks are slowly moving forward. There''''s definitely some space to bridge over. But I wouldn''''t over-exaggerate the differences," Ryabkov said.
First Published: Wednesday, May 05, 2010, 13:28