United Nations Iran's president proclaimed his country's "inalienable right" to nuclear energy Saturday and offered foreign countries and companies a role in his nation's uranium enrichment program to prove Tehran is not producing atomic weapons.
He said Iran continues to abide by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and accused some "powerful states" - an apparent reference to the United States and some Europeans - of engaging in "nuclear apartheid" by discriminating against access by nonproliferation treaty members to material, equipment and peaceful nuclear technology.
Ahmadinejad said Iran's religious principles prohibit the country from obtaining nuclear weapons. He implicitly accused the Europeans and Americans of misrepresenting Iran's desire for civilian nuclear energy "as the pursuit of nuclear weapons."
"This is nothing more than a pure propaganda ploy," he said.
France's Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy welcomed Ahmadinejad's rejection of nuclear weapons and adherence to the nonproliferation but reiterated that Tehran should not have a nuclear fuel cycle.
"We don't see what the involvement of third countries will contribute to establish confidence," he said.
A senior State Department official called it "a very aggressive speech" that appeared to go beyond European "red lines," referring to limits called for by European negotiators in nuclear talks. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of topic.