WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday his country would “definitely continue” its nuclear program despite Israeli threats of military action.
Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres, have suggested the Jewish state could use military force to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons, as the West suspects it is doing.
“Iran will definitely continue its path. You should not even doubt that we will continue our path. We’ll definitely continue our path,” Ahmadinejad said in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” program.
Asked if that meant Iran was playing with fire in light of Israel’s threat of a possible military strike, Ahmadinejad said it was not.
“Those who have stockpiled their bombs and impose their will on others and act unlawfully are the ones who are playing with fire,” he said.
“They’re not a factor, in our defence doctrine, we don’t even count them.”
Ahmadinejad made the comments as talks continue on a fourth round of United Nations sanctions against Iran, which insists that its nuclear program is aimed only at generating electricity.
Diplomats from Russia, the United States, Britain, France, Germany and China have been meeting nearly every day for weeks to hammer out a draft sanctions resolution to submit to the full Security Council for a vote.
Russia and China, Western diplomats say, have been pushing the four Western powers to dilute some of the measures in the U.S.-drafted sanctions proposal. Moscow and Beijing have strong commercial ties with Iran.
Russia believes the point of a fourth round of U.N. sanctions should not be to punish Iran but to “strengthen the non-proliferation regime.” Diplomats have said that this means Russia wants any new U.N. measures to focus exclusively on Iran’s nuclear and missile industries.
Diplomats have told Reuters that the U.S. draft proposes new curbs on Iranian banking, a full arms embargo, tougher measures against Iranian shipping, moves against members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and firms they control, and a ban on new investments in Iran’s energy sector.
Ahmadinejad has said he is not concerned about sanctions.
“We will not accept something that’s forced upon us,” he said in the interview. Ahmadinejad added that any measure taken would be “proportionately confronted by a position that Iran will take.”
Reporting by Deborah Charles; editing by Paul Simao