“The (U.S) tells us that we must prove that we don’t have an atomic weapons program. How can something that doesn’t exist be proved? It’s nonexistent. How can we prove it?” he told thousands of people in Pakdasht, 25 miles southeast of the capital Tehran.
As a result of Iran's boycotting of the meeting, the most critical of the Arab IAEA members was Syria, whose representative depicted Israel's alleged undeclared nuclear arsenal as a "grave and serious threat."
The president also warned that Iran would treat any country that freezes its assets as a “thief.” "The slightest appropriation of the Iranian nation’s currency reserves will be tantamount to theft. The Iranian nation will deal with the perpetrator as a thief,” Ahmadinejad warned.
He was reacting to reports that the U.S. and its allies might freeze assets belonging to Iran’s central bank following a new set of sanctions imposed on Tehran by U.S., Canada and Britain. The new sanctions seek to apply greater pressure to get Tehran to halt its suspected nuclear weapons program.
|How Iran Deals With Sanctions|
Israel's traditional position is that a serious discussion of a nuclear-free Mideast would only take place after certain ground rules were established, such as recognition of Israel by the Arab states, as well as peace agreements that would include security arrangements and an agreement on regional disarmament from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.
Officials and participants warned against high expectations at the gathering, which is hearing presentations on already established nuclear-free zones elsewhere as a way of stimulating discussion on the Middle East and is not meant to reach any decisions.