President Obama said Friday he doesn't take Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's criticism seriously, even though Ahmadinejad has been lobbing sustained assaults aimed at the U.S. president.
In an interview that aired on ABC on Friday, Obama laughed that interviewer George Stephanopoulous, had gone from questioning him about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's recent criticisms of his nuclear policy to Ahmadinejad's comments earlier this week.
In a speech, Ahmadinejad called Obama "an inexperienced amateur" and a "cowboy" who was quick to threaten to use nuclear weapons against America's enemies.
"Well, let's see, George," Obama said, "so far, you've quoted Sarah Palin and now President Ahmadinejad ... you're trying to get a rise out of me!"
Obama then added: "Look, the guy's known for saying some pretty, pretty unconstructive stuff. How's that? And offensive stuff. So, I don't take that seriously.
"What I do take seriously is the fact that if we are consistent and steady and applying international pressure, that over time, Iran, which is not a stupid regime, which is very attentive in watching what's happening in the international community, will start making a different set of cost benefit, you know, analyses about whether or not pursuing nuclear weapons makes sense for them."
Obama's comments about the hard-line leader came just hours before Iran unveiled a third generation of domestically built centrifuges as the country continues to accelerate a uranium enrichment program that has alarmed world.
Iran says it plans on installing more than 50,000 centrifuges at its enrichment facilities.
Obama said he is working with allies to develop new sanctions on Iran, but can't yet say what they are -- and whether they might be effective in dissuading Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.
Ahmadinejad, who's previously said he would wipe Israel off the map, on Friday declared the strategic arms reduction treaty Obama signed with Russia this week "a masquerade" hiding the president's true intentions, Reuters reported.
"We consider nuclear weapons to be against humanity," he is quoted saying.
Ahmadinejad recently compared Obama to his predecessor President George W. Bush saying the change Obama had promised during his campaign has not occurred.
"In reality nothing has changed. They keep on saying we have extended our hand, but the Iranian nation and the government has brushed it off. What has changed? The pressures are still on. The sanctions are still on.”
Ahmadinejad added that Obama "has fallen into this trap and repeated the comments that Bush used to make," saying such an attitude will only make him "another Bush in the eyes of the people."
Obama told ABC that he has not seen any signs that would satisfy him that Iran is ready to change its behavior
"That's why I think we've got to keep on pursuing all options. And at this point, the most important option in front of us is -- is strong and vigorous sanctions," he added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.