RIO DE JANEIRO – Iran's president defended his nation's right to develop nuclear energy during a visit to Brazil.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Thursday press conference came two days after nuclear talks with world powers in Moscow ended without progress. He spoke to journalists on the sidelines of the U.N. conference on sustainable development being held this week in Rio de Janeiro.
In order to tackle the social and economic inequalities and the injustice currently undermining human dignity world-wide, there is a great need for a "new world order," he said through a Portuguese-speaking translator.
"This order would be based on compassion and justice, and in it, all humanity would be respected," he said, pointing out that in the world today, a small minority has the power to make decisions, without consideration for the needs of the majority.
A sign of the injustice in the current world order, he said, is the nuclear proliferation question.
"The countries that have nuclear arms today, and that at certain moments used those arms, today through threats are telling other countries they cannot have these weapons," he said. "We believe that nuclear energy, along with other forms of energy, should be accessible to all nations and is the right of all nations. But nowadays, it is monopolized by a few."
In the talks between Tehran and six world powers that ended Tuesday, the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany argued that Iran should stop enriching uranium to the point where it is steps away from being usable in nuclear warheads. Iranian leaders during the talks said the country is not pursuing nuclear weapons, and that the uranium is only meant for medical uses and to make reactor fuel.