Iran called Tuesday for independent verification of American claims it has pared its stockpile of nuclear warheads back to 5,113 and queried whether Washington was justified in holding such arsenal. Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast also dismissed US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's criticism of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech on Monday on the opening day of the Non-Proliferation Treaty conference.
"Is possessing 5,000 atomic weapons justified? How can you justify possessing such a number of weapons which threaten world security?", Mehmanparast said, according to AFP. "An independent probe is needed to verify the number of US nuclear warheads. A team of independent countries must be allowed to check whether (the number) is right or not," he said.
Earlier, the Pentagon said it has a total of 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile as of September 30, 2009. The figure represented an 84 percent reduction from the arsenal at its peak of 31,255 in 1967 during the Cold War, and a 75 percent reduction from late 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell.
Mehmanparast also dismissed Clinton's criticism of Ahmadinejad's anti-US charges at the NPT review meeting in New York. "Clinton brought up several issues in order to evade the main topic of Mr. Ahmadinejad's speech," he said, adding that her remarks "do not conform to logic."