Ahmadinejad charge 'unfounded, unacceptable': Netherlands

4th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

The Netherlands dismissed as "unfounded and unacceptable" Monday statements by Iran's president in which he blasted Europe, Israel and the United States over nuclear weapons.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's address to conference in New York to review the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty prompted a walk-out by delegates from Britain, France, The Netherlands, the United States and other countries.

"His speech was a litany of unfounded and unacceptable accusations against European countries, the United States and Israel," Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said through his spokesman.

"The discussion is too important to be overshadowed by this type of rhetoric. That is why the Dutch delegation left the hall."

Ahmadinejad called during his address for the US and other countries that "use or threaten to use nuclear weapons" to be suspended from the executive board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN atomic watchdog.

Verhagen said Iran was "trying to divert attention from its nuclear programme".

"If Iran really felt that nuclear weapons were something over which to be ashamed, it would itself abandon attempts to acquire nuclear weapons and play open cards over its nuclear programme," the minister said, quoted by his spokesman Bart Rijs.

The Netherlands, which officially supports "a reduction of nuclear weapons arsenals in Europe and in the world", refuses to confirm or deny that it has such weapons on its soil.

"NATO countries have made agreements among themselves as to which countries have nuclear weapons on their soil," said Rijs, and "have also agreed not to communicate on the matter".

There are believed to be some 240 US nuclear weapons stored in NATO nations Belgium, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Turkey.

© 2010 AFP

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