TEHRAN, Iran – Iran said Tuesday that additional sanctions by the European Union will not affect Tehran, while President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proposed the formation of a special court to punish the world "tyrants" for their attempt to thwart Iran's nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying to a group of judges that "a court should be formed to try and punish all world criminals who invade the rights of the Iranian nation," according to the state IRNA news agency.
Iran considers its nuclear ambitions — which the West claims mask weapons making — as an inalienable right. Tehran has dismissed Western claims and contends its uranium enrichment is only meant for electricity production.
Known for his anti-Western rhetoric, Ahmadinejad also denounced the West for "issuing a verdict" in the absence of Iran.
Ahmadinejad's remarks were his first following a move by the EU which on Monday approved additional financial and travel restrictions for Iranian companies and individuals — including the country's largest bank, Bank Melli Iran.
The Iranian leader did not elaborate on where or how the world powers should be punished for sanctioning Tehran.
Also Tuesday, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said in a statement that the "carrot and stick policy" by the 27-nation EU bloc won't stop Iran's "pursuit to realize its nuclear rights."
Hosseini said the new sanctions would only damage European interests in Iran. A copy of his statement was made available to The Associated Press.
Referring to the new sanctions as a "narrow-mindedness decision" by the EU, the statement quoted Hosseini as saying that "it will not help create a suitable atmosphere for a diplomatic solution" to the nuclear dispute.
Meanwhile in Brussels, the EU released on Tuesday a list of those sanctioned, updating the restrictions first adopted in 2007 and including 15 new names and 20 new companies the EU says all have links to developing Iran's nuclear program.
Most notable among the newly sanctioned, the Bank Melli, allegedly provided or attempted to give financial backing to companies involved in procuring goods for Iran's nuclear and missile programs, the EU said.
Earlier in June, the EU unsuccessfully proposed a package of economic incentives in return for an end to Iran's uranium enrichment program.
Tehran officials have scorned the proposal, although Iran has also said that both sides could start talks on it since the proposal has "common" points with the Iranian one, presented by Tehran in May but which the West said fell far short of meeting international demands.
The U.S and many of its allies demand suspension of Iran's nuclear activities since they suspect Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon program.
The U.N. Security Council has also demanded Iran suspend uranium enrichment as a prelude to talks on its nuclear program.
But Tehran insists it has a right to enrich uranium for nuclear energy under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and has shrugged off three rounds of U.N. sanctions.