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Ahmadinejad Criticizes UN Nuke Watchdog

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has criticized the United Nation's nuclear watchdog as he was leaving for New York to participate in the May 3 review of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of which Iran is a signatory.

Delegates of 189 nations will meet for the treaty review, but Ahmadinejad is the only head of state taking part.

The Iranian president told reporters in Tehran on May 2 that this is an important meeting because the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which created the NPT, needs reform.

"Unfortunately, the IAEA has had no success in any of its missions in the past 40 years. Not only was there no disarmament, proliferation was not prevented, new countries acquired atomic bombs, and no member state was able to take advantage of its legal right to exploit nuclear fuel production technology," Ahmadinejad said.

The United States has been leading efforts by Western powers to increase pressure on the Islamic Republic over its disputed nuclear program, which it fears is being using to make a bomb. Iran says its program is strictly for civilian purposes.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on April 29 said if Ahmadinejad's New York visit means he "wants to come and announce that Iran will abide by their nonproliferation requirements under the NPT, that would be very good news indeed."

Ahmadinejad said today that his attendance was "necessary" in order to present the country's proposals to the international community.

compiled from agency reports