The United States today for the first time since 1962 disclosed the size of its nuclear arsenal in what officials described as an as an unprecedented unveiling of a state secret and an attempt to encourage other countries to be open about their nuclear capabilities.
The Pentagon announced the U.S. currently has 5,113 nuclear warheads in its stockpile – an 84 percent reduction from a peak of 31,255 warheads in 1967.
"For those who doubt that the United States will do its part on disarmament, this is our record, these are our commitments, and they send a clear, unmistakable signal," said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before the U.N.'s conference on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
Her comments were a direct rebuke to those made earlier today by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said the U.S. has not met its non-proliferation commitments and uses nuclear weapons to threaten other countries.
"This morning, Iran's president offered the same tired, false and sometimes wild accusations against the United States and other parties at this conference," Clinton said. "That's not surprising… Iran will do whatever it can to divert attention away from its own record and to attempt to evade accountability."
The Iranian president denied in an address to the conference attendees that his country's nuclear program poses a threat to world security, saying that reports his country is producing nuclear weapons are based on "not a single credible proof."
He later prompted a walk out by delegations from the U.S., Great Britain and France, saying, "Regrettably the United States has not only used nuclear weapons but also continues to threaten to use such weapons against other countries including my country."
Last month, President Obama revealed the Nuclear Policy Review which vowed that the U.S. would not use nuclear weapons to attack any country. The policy included a caveat that said exceptions will be made for nations -- such as Iran -- that do not comply with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
A senior Defense official said that with today's release of what is normally a closely guarded state secret, "the United States will set a standard for declassification of this information."
During his speech, Ahmadinejad repeatedly depicted the U.S. as a rogue nation. In a series of shots, some veiled, at the U.S., Admadinejad said:
"Those who carried out the first atomic bombardments are among the most hated individuals in human history."
"The United States has never respected any of its commitments."
"It should be borne in mind that in the previous decade, the United States has made -- has had most of its wars and conflicts with those who were once its friends."
"Arming terrorists with nuclear weapons are only conceivable by those states which possess such weapons and have used them and also have a long record of supporting terrorists."
"Major terrorist networks are supported by the United States intelligence agencies and the Zionist regime. Credible evidence is available in this connection that will be publicized if needed during the forthcoming conference on the global fight against terrorism in Tehran."
The White House said Ahmadinejad's speech was full of "wild accusations."
Ahmadinedjad said every country should be willing to give up its nuclear arms and asked Obama this "humane movement" if he is still "committed to his motive of change."