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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted on Friday that new sanctions will not force Iran to give up its right to enrich uranium and blasted the UN Security Council as an instrument used by "bullying" Western nations against Teheran.
"We have achieved the nuclear fuel cycle. We won't give it up under pressure. You can't stop the Iranian nation from this path through meetings," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by state media.
But even as the Iranian president reiterated Teheran would pursue the controversial enrichment program, he has asked to speak before the UN's most powerful body on the day the Security Council votes on a new resolution on stepped up sanctions against his country.
In turn, the US announced Friday it will approve Ahmadinejad's request for a visa so he can visit the UN.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Friday that the United States has approved a visa for Ahmedinejad previously and will do so again, consistent with its obligations as host country for the United Nations.
On Thursday, the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France, along with Germany compromised on a sanctions package to step up pressure on the Islamic republic to suspend uranium enrichment. The full council will consider the measures in coming days.
At a rally Thursday in the central city of Meibod, Ahmadinejad said, "These threats won't have one iota of effect on the strong will of the Iranian nation."
McCormack said, "We will do everything we can to expedite the visa."
The visa request was submitted for Ahmadinejad and his traveling party through the US embassy in Switzerland.
McCormack pointed out that any UN member subject to a Security Council resolution has the right of rebuttal.
He expressed hope that when the visit takes place, Ahmadinejad will take advantage of an offer by the permanent members of Security Council plus Germany to open a negotiation on Iran's nuclear program.