Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed Western criticism over a newly disclosed uranium enrichment facility, and said he was hopeful about upcoming talks to defuse the nuclear standoff.
In a one-hour news conference in New York on Friday, Ahmadinejad said Tehran's disclosure was "completely legal," adding: "We actually informed the agency (International Atomic Energy Agency) 18 months ahead of time."
"Is this the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do?" he asked. "I thought we are supposed to be encouraged for taking this action."
Ahmadinejad said Tehran had no problem with the IAEA inspecting the new enrichment facility. According to him, his country decided to show restraint in responding to the latest Western accusations in hopes that talks between Iran and six major powers in Geneva on Thursday "will go somewhere."
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met with Ahmadinejad late Friday and voiced his "grave concern" over news of Iran's second uranium enrichment plant. Ban urged Iran to fully implement relevant Security Council resolutions and fully cooperate with the IAEA to resolve "all outstanding concerns related to its nuclear program."
According to AFP, the UN leader "emphasized that the burden of proof is on Iran," read a statement from Ban's spokesperson. Nuclear standoff: chronology.