Sunday, April 18, 2010

Iran boasts its nuclear disarmament summit draws more support than Obama's

One day earlier, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, condemned Washington as the world's "only atomic criminal," while President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for it to be "suspended" from the UN nuclear watchdog.

The competing summits set the stage for a review of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the framework agreement on nuclear disarmament, at the United Nations in New York next month.

Although attendance was diminished by volcanic ash over Europe, Tehran managed to draw delegations from most of the 60 countries that originally pledged to attend - an improvement on the 47 countries Mr Obama hosted in Washington last week, though the US conference attracted far more senior diplomats. Among the delegations in Teheran were representatives from China and Russia - both major powers the West is pushing to accept new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

Iran has broken NPT rules by producing highly enriched uranium that Western intelligence agencies believe put it within a year of making an atom bomb.