Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s decision to attend the upcoming non-proliferation conference in New York has prompted the US to take measures to counter the move.
On Monday, which is the opening day of the conference to review the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak third after the opening remarks by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and a Non-Aligned Movement representative, the Dutch Press Agency reported on Friday.
Representatives from over 180 countries will be attending the gathering, which is being held at the UN Headquarters in New York.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will speak at the gathering Monday afternoon. She will be the highest-ranking US diplomat to attend the talks in 10 years.
Pundits say the decision to have Clinton participate in the conference was made to prevent the event from becoming a forum for countries of the Global South that are opposed to the calls to impose a new round of UN sanctions on Iran.
According to a report in the April 28 edition of The New York Times, the United States and its allies want to avoid negotiating Iran sanctions at the time of the conference to prevent the Iranian nuclear issue from becoming a rallying cry for non-nuclear states.
Non-nuclear states assert that the NPT has been misinterpreted and misused by the nuclear states to keep their club exclusive.
At the NPT talks, Washington will be seeking more authority and money for the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), US Undersecretary of State for Arms Control Ellen Tauscher said on Friday.
She referred to Obama’s recently-crafted Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), under which the US commits to never use nuclear weapons against states that do not possess nuclear arsenals, with the exception of Iran and North Korea.
The New York Times quoted Obama as saying that the loophole would apply to “outliers” like Iran, which is an NPT member, and North Korea, which has withdrawn from the treaty and tested nuclear warheads.
The UN secretary general did not comment on the US president’s nuclear threats against two UN members.
Iran is a signatory to the NPT and has repeatedly declared that its nuclear program is peaceful and is being pursued within the framework of international regulations.
In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that Iran’s civilian nuclear program has been diverted to nuclear weapons production.