TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday that Iran would make an “appropriate and firm response” to any sanctions imposed U.N. Security Council because of the country’s nuclear program.
“The Iranian nation will respond to restrictive activities with an appropriate and firm response,” Ahmadinejad said without elaboration. “Efforts by the big powers will only incite anger and hatred.”
Ahmadinejad made the comments to a large crowd on the southern outskirts of Tehran as key Security Council members are deliberating a draft European resolution that would impose sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear program.
Russia has indicated that the measure is too tough, while the United States says it’s not tough enough.
With the council divided, Ahmadinejad continued his defiance, telling the crowd that Iran would prefer to endure sanctions rather than bow to Western pressure. “We want to stand on our own feet,” he said. “You should know that our nation will not give in one iota in the nuclear case.” He also mocked Britain as a “follower of arrogance,” adding that the British “have simply become the guide for a blind U.S.”
“We do advise Britain not to squirm and not to do childish activities concerning the resolution. Iran’s nation has stood up and will not let you achieve anything except humiliation,” Ahmadinejad said.
The speech was delivered two days after Iran officially confirmed that it has doubled its uranium enrichment capacity.
President George W. Bush has insisted that the Iranians must first halt enrichment, a key step to produce both peaceful nuclear power or an atomic bomb, before Washington will negotiate about Tehran’s nuclear program.
Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful production of electricity. The U.S. and some other countries fear the Iranians want to build a nuclear arsenal. Also Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Tehran hopes that Russia and China will support Iran in the Security Council deliberations. “We are hopeful these countries would support Iran’s reasonable stances as much as possible,” Mottaki told reporters on the sidelines of an economic conference. “However, we only count on support by our nation.”
Mottaki also urged the U.N Security Council to avoid “illegal and incorrect decisions.” “I repeat again here that threatening and imposing sanctions could not keep the nation from achieving its inherent rights,” he said.