Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned that a fresh round of sanctions against Tehran will be more detrimental to the US than Iran and it will close the door on improving ties between the two nations.
The permanent members of the Security Council and Germany are currently in negotiations about imposing a fourth round of sanctions against Iran for its nuclear programme.
“This is nothing new. For 31 years, sanctions have been placed on us,” Mr. Ahmadinejad told reporters.
“We feel that and think that the US government will be damaged more than us by those sanctions. It is very clear that if the United States starts sanctions against Iran it means that it is the end of (President Barack) Obama’s efforts. It means that no change will occur,” he added.
The blunt Iranian leader blasted the U.S. for imposing sanctions but underlined that these steps had not weakened the country.
“The heaviest political pressures have been placed on us since the revolution (in 1979). Experience has proven that sanctions cannot stop the Iranian nation,” he said.
“Iran is far more advanced and powerful than 40 years ago,” he said.
The Iranian leader was speaking to reporters in New York, a day after he clashed with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the opening day of the four-week United Nations Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Mr. Ahmadinejad slammed Washington for hounding Tehran over its nuclear programme while not pushing Israel, to which he referred to as a “Zionist regime”, for getting rid of its nuclear weapons.
Israel does not confirm or deny having nuclear arsenal.
Ms. Clinton responded by saying that Iran “cynically claimed to be abiding by the treaty while violating its safeguards, expanding its enrichment programme failing to cooperate with the IAEA and ignoring the injunctions of the Security Council.”
Mr. Ahmadinejad also warned that if the next round of sanctions were imposed, the possibility of an improvement in relations between the US and Iran would be closed.
“Relations between Iran and the US will never be improved again. The path to that will be shot,” he said.