TEHRAN – Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday that further U.N. Security Council sanction will not deter Iran from pursuing its controversial nuclear program.
The hardliner also vowed that Iran will not back down "one iota" in the face of international pressures over the atomic work, which the West fears may be a cover for weapons development despite Iran's persistent denial.
"They issued several resolutions and sanctioned Iran ... They think Iranians will fall on their knees over these things but they are mistaken," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in southern Iran carried live on state television.
"We are not interested in conflicts (but) you are continually demanding things," he said to world powers, led by the United States, which are seeking to curb Iran's atomic ambitions.
"They should not think they can put up obstacles in Iranians' way ... I assure the people ... that the government will whole-heartedly defend Iran's rights and will not back down one iota," he said.
Iran is already under three sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions over its defiance and refusal to suspend enrichment, which lies at the heart of international fears about its nuclear programme.
The process that makes nuclear fuel can also be used to make the fissile core of an atomic bomb.
World powers gave Iran until the end of 2009 to accept a U.N.-brokered deal to ship most of Iran's low-enriched uranium (LEU) abroad to be further refined into reactor fuel by Russia and France
But the deadline was ignored, prompting talk of fresh sanctions against the Islamic republic.
Iran has in return insisted on its counter-proposal of a staged swap of LEU for nuclear reactor fuel.
The Iranian leadership has also drawn international condemnation over its treatment of anti-government protests triggered by Ahmadinejad's June 12 disputed re-election.
On Saturday, Ahmadinejad dismissed criticism of Iran over human rights as a "game."
© AFP 2013