27 Sep 2012

Iran leader accuses West of nuclear intimidation

6:54 am on 27 September 2012

Iran's president has accused the West of nuclear "intimidation" in a United Nations General Assembly address boycotted by the United States and Israel.

It was using a nuclear arms race to threaten other nations to accept the status quo, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday.

"Continued threat by the uncivilised Zionists [Israel] to resort to military action is a clear example of this bitter reality."

It was Mr Ahmadinejad's last speech to the UN summit before he steps down.

The West suspects Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons, but Tehran insists its nuclear programme is solely for peaceful purposes, the BBC reports.

In his eighth and final appearance before the 193-nation assembly, Mr Ahmadinejad said the world was in need of a new order and a fresh way of thinking, as "the existence of discrimination and monopoly in the UN is in no way acceptable".

He closed with a poetic exhortation to the second coming of Jesus Christ, saying this event would complete "the soulful breeze of the spring" - an apparent reference to the Arab Spring - as Christ would be accompanied by "a perfect human being... named Imam al-Mahdi... he will lead humanity into achieving its glorious and eternal ideals".

In his address to the General Assembly on Tuesday, US President Barack Obama had again stressed that America would "do what we must" to stop Tehran acquiring nuclear arms.

Six weeks before the US election, Mr Obama said a nuclear-armed Iran was "not a challenge that can be contained".

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been pressing Washington to set Tehran "red lines" which, if crossed, would lead to military intervention.