TEHRAN, Iran – Iran's president said his country has no reservations about pursuing its nuclear ambitions despite the U.N. sanctions imposed on North Korea for its purported nuclear test.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad again rejected the U.N. Security Council's demand that Tehran suspend its nuclear activities in response to concern they are aimed at acquiring nuclear weapons.
The comments represented Iran's first official reaction to the council's vote Saturday to punish North Korea's defiance of international will.
The United States said Sunday that it hoped the sanctions would be a lesson to Iran not to follow North Korea's example.
But Ahmadinejad's remarks suggested North Korea's claim to have tested an atomic bomb has emboldened Tehran in its own standoff with the U.N.
"Some Western countries have turned the U.N. Security Council into a weapon to impose their hegemony and issue resolutions against countries that oppose them," Ahmadinejad was quoted by the state-run television as saying Monday.
"They use the council for threats and intimidation," the television quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.
But Iran "won't be intimidated," he said.
"Mounting threats and pressures against Iran's peaceful nuclear activities won't cause even one iota of hesitation in the will of the Iranian nation to continue this path."
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations warned Iran that it risks sanctions like those slapped on North Korea.
"I hope the lesson they learn is that if they continue to pursue nuclear weapons, they will face the same kind of isolation and restrictions that we have just imposed on the North Koreans," Ambassador John Bolton told a cable news program on Sunday.
Iran says its nuclear activities are aimed at generating electricity, not developing weapons.
It has repeatedly ignored Security Council demands to stop enriching uranium, which can be used to produce electricity or fuel for a bomb.