Iran calls for end to all nuclear arms after N. Korea test

AFP , Tuesday 12 Feb 2013

In response to North Korea's announcement it is conducting underground nuclear tests, Iran foreign ministry spokesman states all atomic weapons should be destroyed, but use for peaceful purposes to be permitted

Sanctions-hit Iran on Tuesday called for the destruction of all atomic weapons in the world after North Korea announced that it had staged its most powerful nuclear test yet.

"We need to come to the point where no country has any nuclear weapons and at the same time all weapons of mass destruction and nuclear arms need to be destroyed," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said when asked for a response to Pyongyang's claim to have detonated a "miniaturised" device.

"At the same all countries should have the right to make use of nuclear activities for peaceful purposes," Mehmanparast said at his weekly press briefing.

Iran has been slapped with numerous international sanctions due to its controversial nuclear programme, which the West insists masks a drive for atomic weapons despite repeated denials by Tehran.

"For such a world to exist those who are the front runners in producing the nuclear ... who are proud of their nuclear stockpiles that upgrade them and allocate budgets to maintain them, need to be the first people to disarm so that no country would pursue these weapons," Mehmanparast said.

The test, by the pariah nation has been met with the world condemnation.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said he is "gravely concerned about the negative impact of this deeply destabilising act" as the UN Security Council prepared to hold an emergency session at 9:00 am in New York (1400 GMT).

Tehran was among the few nations who congratulated North Korea on successfully launching a scientific satellite in orbit, last December, but denied having a role in preparing the launch.

Iranian officials denied a South Korean newspaper report and a Western diplomatic source claim that a number of Iranian missile experts were in North Korea offering technical assistance for the launch.

Leaked US diplomatic cables in 2010 showed that US officials believe Iran has acquired ballistic missile parts from North Korea.

Pyongyang and Tehran are both under UN Security Council sanctions for their ballistic missile and nuclear programmes.

A 2011 UN sanctions report said Tehran and Pyongyang were suspected of sharing ballistic missile technology.

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