TEHRAN, Iran – Iran's hard-line president said Wednesday that he would declare a "day of national celebration" if sanctions were imposed on his country, state television reported.
"The day sanctions are imposed on Iran by its enemies, would be a day of national celebration for the Iranian nation," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was quoted as telling supporters in Robat Karim, a town in south of Tehran.
He said previous sanctions had not stopped Iran from achieving its goals.
"Iran has achieved nuclear technology under sanctions," Ahmadinejad reportedly said.
The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council agreed Tuesday to start working on U.N. sanctions against Iran next week, but failed to bridge differences at a top-level meeting on the severity of the measures, diplomats and officials said.
The diplomats and government officials demanded anonymity in exchange for discussing the confidential meeting of the five Security Council countries and Germany — the six powers whose repeated attempts to entice Iran to enter nuclear negotiations finally broke down last week over Tehran's refusal to give up uranium enrichment.
Earlier Wednesday, Ahmadinejad called possible U.N. sanctions an empty threat and said the Security Council had no right to intervene in his country's nuclear program.
"They want to force the Iranian nation to withdraw from its nuclear rights, under a hollow threat," Ahmadinejad said in a speech in Shahriar, another suburb of Tehran.
He accused some of the Security Council members of "bullying."
"These three or four countries are bullying, they have no right to intervene. The Security Council has no right to intervene," Ahmadinejad said. The United States, China, Russia, Britain and France are the council's veto-wielding members.
Ahmadinejad promised the crowd that Iranians would see "bigger victories" in the near future, but he did not elaborate.
Although Ahmadinejad denounces the West for its opposition to Iran's nuclear program, he invited the West to adopt a friendly approach toward Iran.
"Hasn't the time arrived for you to be friends with the Iranian nation?" he asked rhetorically. "We are for dialogue and peace. We are not for waging war against anybody."
Ahmadinejad reiterated that Iran's nuclear program is only for peaceful uses.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has called on Iran to suspend the enrichment of uranium until doubts about the country's nuclear program have been cleared. Uranium must be enriched before it can be used in either nuclear reactors or atomic weapons.