Ahmadinejad speaking to press, squinting 311.
(photo credit: AP Photo/Osama Faisal)
TEHERAN, Iran —
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad criticized the threat of new
sanctions against his country Wednesday, saying Iran can survive without
the aid of the United States and its allies.
Ahmadinejad told NBC News in an interview that Iran was justified in barring further visits by United Nations atomic inspectors.
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denied claims that Iran was being uncooperative and said the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should instead focus its
attention on Israel, which he named only as an illegal “Zionist regime.”
possess nuclear weapons, and they constantly threaten their neighbors,”
he said. “And in the past year, they threatened Iran more than 10
"We in Iran are in a position to meet our own requirements," he said.
UN Security Council imposed a fourth round of sanctions in June, saying
Iran has refused to suspend uranium enrichment and start negotiations
with the five permanent members and Germany. Tehran says its nuclear
program is aimed solely at producing nuclear energy.
the apparent escalation of tensions in recent weeks over the topic of
Koran burning in the US, Ahmadinejad said there was no conflict between
the two cultures and blamed a small minority of Americans for fueling
the rising anger between Muslims and Americans.
"Their interests lie in creating wars and conflicts," he said. "Koran is
a heavenly book, a divine book. That was an ugly thing, to burn a holy
Ahmadinejad's comments came on the same day that the US, Britain and
France expressed growing concern that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons
program and developing ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear
The three Western powers were joined by Russia and China, which have
close ties to Iran, in calling on the government in Teheran to return to
negotiations on its nuclear program. China's deputy UN ambassador Wang
Ming said, without elaborating, that "at present new opportunities have
emerged for restarting dialogue."