No trace of irony: Ahmadinejad says stockpiling nuclear weapons is "mentally retarded"
Nations that stockpile nuclear weapons are “mentally retarded,” Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said during a meeting in Indonesia Thursday while insisting his country’s nuclear ambitions are limited to peaceful purposes.
"The period and era of using nuclear weapons is over…Nuclear bombs are not anymore helpful and those who are stockpiling nuclear weapons, politically they are backward, and they are mentally retarded," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying during a Bali forum in a slight probably directed towards the United States.
Iran has long denied Western and Israeli accusations that it seeks to build nuclear weapons.
Israel, the region’s sole nuclear power, has threatened to strike at Iranian nuclear facilities should they reach the stage of uranium enrichment. Last month, Israel attacked a facility in Sudan it claimed was being used by Iran to store and transfer weapons to Hamas in Gaza, killing two people.
But on Friday Israel announced that Iran had slowed the timetable for enriching enough uranium to build nuclear weapons, signalling that Israel may be backing off its threats to strike.
Israel’s far right prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu drew a red line over a cartoon sketch of a bomb during a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York in September, hinting a preparedness to strike Iran over its nuclear program.
Meanwhile on Friday the UN atomic agency said it will hold in December its first talks with Iran since August over its nuclear program, in a first sign of renewed diplomatic activity after a series of failed talks.
"The IAEA and Iran have agreed to hold further talks on 13 December in Tehran," International Atomic Energy Agency spokeswoman Gill Tudor told AFP in an email, without elaborating.
"The aim is to conclude the structured approach to resolving outstanding issues related to Iran's nuclear program," she said.
The UN Security Council has imposed four sets of sanctions on the Iran, which coupled with unilateral western restrictions, have led to severe economic problems for the oil-rich country.
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