UNITED NATIONS — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the United Nations' top leadership used a high-level nuclear conference Monday to publicly scold Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his country's defiance of U.N. resolutions, while the United States and its European allies staged a walkout to protest Tehran's nuclear stance.
In an afternoon address to a conference to review the 40-year-old nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Clinton responded sharply to a fiery speech at midday in which Ahmadinejad blamed the United States for a global nuclear arms race and dismissed the prospect of "nuclear terrorism" — identified by President Barack Obama as the main atomic threat facing the world.
"Iran's president offered the same tired, false and sometimes wild accusations against the United States and other parties at this conference," Clinton said. "But that's not surprising. … Iran will do whatever it can to divert attention away from its own record and to attempt to evade accountability."
She backed U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon's earlier statement that "the onus is on Iran" to prove its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
The conference is held every five years to review the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the 40-year-old pact aimed at stopping the spread of nuclear weapons.