(photo credit: AP)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday downplayed UN Security Council sanctions on his country over its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment, saying world powers will soon regret imposing them.
"Iran has no concern and is not upset about the Security Council issuing the resolution," Iran's official news agency, IRNA, quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
On Saturday, the Security Council voted unanimously to impose sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, increasing international pressure on the government to prove that it is not trying to make nuclear weapons.
Analysis: Sanctions on Iran - too little, too late
UN imposes sanctions against Iran
Speaking to a group of veterans from the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war inside the former US embassy in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said, "This will not damage the nation of Iran, but its issuers will soon regret this superficial and nil act."
The hard-line president also said the West lost its chance to mend relations with Iran by imposing the sanctions.
"I am sorry for you who lost the opportunity of friendship with the nation of Iran. You yourself know that you cannot damage the nation of Iran one iota," IRNA quoted him as saying.
Earlier Sunday, Iran's top nuclear negotiator said the country will push forward immediately with efforts to enirch uranium after the UN Security Council imposed sanctions designed to stop the nuclear efforts, the Kayhan newspaper reported.
"From Sunday morning, we will begin activities at Natanz - site of 3,000-centrifuge machines - and we will drive it with full speed. It will be our immediate response to the resolution," the newspaper quoted Ali Larijani, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, as saying.
Also Sunday morning, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni voiced her support for the UN Security Council's Saturday decision, but lamented that the details of the sanctions had been softened.
"Imposing sanctions on Iran was a very important decision, but it was vital to gain everyone's support, and unfortunately this required several compromises requested by the Russians," Livni told Army Radio in an interview.
The foreign minister said that reaching a unanimous decision in the United Nations Security Council was "a very complex process," and that leading countries made great efforts in convincing others to support them
She added that "despite the fact that those nations that needed convincing do not want a nuclear-armed Iran, they still asked to soften the sanctions."
Livni said that if the sanctions did not work, "we will need to carry on working with the international community to advance more procedures."
She stressed that the one aim of the decision was to prevent the nuclearization of Iran, adding that although it was a very important step, she feared more would be required.
"There is an understanding that the world cannot tolerate an Iran with nuclear capabilities," she said.
She added that there was a list of severe sanctions that were not included in Saturday's decision.
The foreign minister emphasized that from the outset, Iran had been given ample opportunities to adhere to the international communities' requirements.
"At every stage, the UNSC gave Iran time to respond to its demands," she said.
"This is a significant step because it is the first time, 17 months after the Iranians began their overt enrichment program, that the international community has taken concrete steps against it," diplomatic officials in Jerusalem said Saturday night.