TEHRAN (AFP) – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday accused Western countries of stirring up a “fuss” about the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme.
“They are saying we are worried that Iran may be building a bomb,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech at the inauguration of a new dam in southwest Iran that was broadcast on state television.
“But we are saying you have built it and even used it. So who should be worried? We or you? They are just making a fuss. They have ended up humiliating themselves.”
Ahmadinejad’s comments came a day after six major powers held a conference call on further UN sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.
Western powers suspect Tehran is making a nuclear bomb under the guise of a civilian nuclear programme.
Iran, which has aggressively pursued nuclear technology under Ahmadinejad’s presidency, denies the charge.
The hardline president said that the Western powers were purely interested in stopping his country’s overall progress.
“Let me tell you, the era when they could hurt the Iranian nation is over. The Iranian nation is at such a height that their evil hands can’t touch it,” Ahmadinejad said.
“They want to stop, even for an hour, the fast speeding train of Iranian progress. But they will be unable to do it,” he said, adding Western countries were in decline and “humiliated by the Zionists.”
Israel, the Middle East’s sole but undeclared nuclear weapons power, and the United States have not ruled out using military strikes against Iran’s atomic sites.
Senior officials from the United States, Russia, France, Britain, China and Germany failed to agree on sanctions in Wednesday’s conference call.
China, Iran’s main economic partner which for weeks stalled on holding the talks, took part in the call and appealed for more diplomacy to resolve the crisis on Thursday.
“China urges all sides to use diplomatic means to peacefully resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiation,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters in Beijing.
“This is the best choice and it conforms to the interests of all sides as well as peace and stability in the region.”