| TEHRAN, July 7
(Xinhuanet) -- Iran on Wednesday criticized US Secretary of State Colin Powell's
remarks on the nuclear ambitions of the Islamic republic, the official IRNA news
gency reported. |
Powell told a press conference, jointly held with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom in Washington Tuesday, that Iran was "pursuing nuclear
weapons development, or worse, acquiring a nuclear weapon."
In response, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi said that
"Powell's remarks are a source of disgrace for the US administration before
world public opinion and the Islamic states in particular."
"The United States is not following an independent policy toward Iran's nuclear
programs but instead is toeing the line of the Zionist regime in this regard,"
He argued that by raising the issue of Iran's
attempts to develop nuclear weapons, Israel was seeking to deflect attention
from its own nuclear activities and prevent its nuclear secrets from being
disclosed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Israel has an official policy of "nuclear ambiguity", under which it neither
confirms nor denies having such weapons.
international arms experts assess Israel has the world's sixth largest stockpile
of nuclear weapons, including some 300 warheads and the ability to rapidly
"The Israeli government's refusal to disclose its
nuclear plans to the UN nuclear watchdog clearly indicated it was stubbornly
disregarding its commitments and avoiding transparent cooperation with the
IAEA," Asefi said.
Under the international pressure, Iran
suspended uranium enrichment last October, but it held that the suspension was a
voluntary move to build confidence between Tehran and the
community, claiming the program was purely of a peaceful
The IAEA passed on June 18 a resolution censoring
Iran for covering up its nuclear programs for years.
resolution dissatisfied Iran, who therefore threatened the resumption of its
Iran has been accused by the United States of pursuing secret nuclear programs, a charge vehemently denied by Tehran. Enditem