Ahmadinejad: Israel is a “cruel racist regime”; Ban Ki-moon condemns Ahmadinejad’s speech; Iran’s presidential election process begins; Deputy Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization: Iran will be a nuclear fuel producing country by 2010
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  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at the UN Conference on Racism in Geneva termed Israel a “cruel and repressive racist regime,” prompting delegates from European nations to stage a walkout and earning a rebuke from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who stated that he had not “experienced this kind of destructive proceedings in an assembly, in a conference, by any one member state.” The US and more than a half-dozen other nations had already boycotted the meeting out of concern that the meeting would turn into a platform for attacking Israel and its policies. Ahmadinejad was the only head of state to attend the event.

    Pakistani representative Zamir Akram however told reporters that “If we actually believe in freedom of expression, then he [Ahmadinejad] has the right to say what he wants to say1.” Iran termed the UN chief’s statement about its president as “one-sided and unreasonable” and as being “not impartial2.”

    In other developments, the process of registration of candidates for the upcoming presidential elections slated for June 12 started. Reports indicated that according to Article 55 of the Presidential Elections Law, the nominees, personally or through their representatives, must attend the Interior Ministry to make final registration for the elections by May 5, 20093.

    The Deputy Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization for Planning and International Affairs, Mohammad Saeedi told an international conference on nuclear energy held in Beijing that Iran will be transformed into a nuclear fuel-producing country by the end of its Fourth Five-Year Development Plan (2005-2010)4.