Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called yesterday for states that threaten to use atomic weapons to be punished, a clear reference to a new U.S. nuclear strategy released last month.
Speaking at the start of a monthlong meeting of the 189 signatories of the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he urged “considering any threat to use nuclear weapons or attack against peaceful nuclear facilities as a breach of international peace and security.”
Such threats should face “swift reaction from the United Nations and termination of all cooperation of NPT member-states with the threatening aggressor state,” Ahmadinejad said.
In keeping with past practice during annual General Assembly gatherings, the delegations of the United States, Britain and France all walked out of the assembly chamber during the Iranian president’s speech.
“I think rightly our delegation and many others left as a series of wild accusations were made during the speech,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
The walkout came as Ahmadinejad charged that Israel threatened its neighbors with “terror and invasion,” and enjoyed unconditional support from Washington and its allies.
Among the punishments that should be meted out to countries that use, or threaten to use, atomic weapons against other nations is suspension from the board of governors of the U.N. nuclear watchdog in Vienna, Ahmadinejad said.