Eliminate India, Pak, Israel N-arms: Khatami

Khatami said beginning in the region should be made by 'eliminating' atomic weapons of India, Pak, Israel.

india Updated: Sep 09, 2006 18:46 IST

Amid global concerns over Iran's controversial nuclear programme, its former President Mohammad Khatami has said the beginning in the region should be made by 'eliminating' atomic weapons of India, Pakistan and Israel.

Asked whether there is a way out of the current crisis with the US accusing Iran of trying to build a nuclear weapon and Tehran denying it, Khatami told Time magazine that the region has three states which possess hundreds of warheads with Israel having the biggest arsenal.

"The biggest (arsenal) is (of) Israel. And then Pakistan and India. If there are serious concerns about nuclear weapons, we should start by eliminating those that already exist. And the US does not display any sensitivity whatsoever to these issues, to these nuclear weapons. None of the three have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but Iran has," he said.

Iran, Khatami said, has the right to have access to nuclear energy. "And we are ready to give every guarantee that we would use this for peaceful purposes. Our leader (President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) has issued a decree prohibiting the production and the stockpiling of weapons of mass destruction."

First Published: Sep 09, 2006 18:46 IST