TEHRAN, Iran – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday in a live television interview that there were no grounds for imposing new U.N. sanctions on his country.
Ahmadinejad dismissed the third round of sanctions that the U.S. and other countries have been pushing for to force Iran to halt its enrichment of uranium.
"In my opinion, there is no justification," he said. "I think it is very unlikely that they, the West, is ready to pressure the agency, once again."
The U.N. Security Council has imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran since last December over Tehran's refusal to halt uranium enrichment, which can either be used for a nuclear energy program or eventually to build a weapon.
On the subject of Iran's economy, Ahmadinejad accused his rivals of waging a psychological war against his policies.
"There is an organized psychological war against us. Repeatedly they say economic situation is worsening and broadcast negative economic news," he said. "When the enemy wanted to imply that sanctions have affected Iran, they (rivals) launched a psychological economic war here."
"I see some individuals who do not observe national interests," he added. "I have no doubt that some intentionally want to cause damage."
Ahmadinejad did admit that the subsidies are a major cause of Iran's economic difficulties. "The big problem of our economy is that we pay heavy subsidies." He said the annual cost of subsidies is more than US$60 billion, some 25 percent of the country's GNP.