Iran is ready to share its nuclear technology with other Islamic countries, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying yesterday.
"The Islamic Republic never seeks weapons of mass destruction and with respect to the needs of Islamic countries, we are ready to transfer nuclear know-how to these countries," the official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
Washington accuses Iran of secretly building atomic weapons and the comments are likely to heighten Western concerns about Iran's nuclear program. They were made during a meeting with Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, IRNA said.
Washington and its allies claim Iran has failed to provide full and timely information about its nuclear program and are concerned that Teheran last month broke UN seals at a uranium processing facility.
Iran insists it has every right as a signatory of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to develop a full atomic program to generate electricity.
"We have firmly decided to use this technology for peaceful purposes within the framework of the NPT, international regulations and co-operation with the International Atomic Energy Agency," IRNA quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
West backs away from early move
Late on Wednesday at the UN Summit, President Ahmadinejad blasted US unilateralism, militarism and privilege and called for the United Nations to promote spirituality.
In his first major international speech since taking office last month, he advanced broad concepts, including recommendations that the United Nations "institutionalize justice at the international level" and ensure all members have "equal rights."
"The greatest challenge of our age is the gradual spiritual depravation of human beings brought about by the distancing of the prevailing order from morality and unity of monotheism," he said.
"The United Nations should lead in the promotion of spirituality and compassion for humanity," he added.
As Teheran sought to widen backing for its stance by offering to share peaceful nuclear technology with other Islamic nations, western powers appeared to back away from an early move to refer Iran's nuclear program to the UN Security Council.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice acknowledged that the United States and its European allies may lack the votes to haul Iran before the highest United Nations body next week over its resumption of uranium conversion.
"If we get a referral on September 19, that will be good, but I think the issue of a referral is something that we'll be working for a while," she told Fox News editorial board.
"I'm not so concerned about exactly when it happens because I don't think this matter is so urgent that it has to be on September 19," Rice said in remarks released after a meeting on Wednesday.
"We want to give the new Iranian authorities every opportunity," an EU diplomat said. "We have never closed the door to negotiation. It always remained our preferred route."
(China Daily September 16, 2005)