Iran says it is “punishing” the United Nations by refusing to hold talks on its nuclear program in retaliation for a new round of sanctions that the Security Council approved. Continuing his offensive against the West, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also threatened retaliation against any attempt to inspect cargo ships headed for the Islamic Republic.
If Western ships carry out searches on cargo vessels headed for Iran, "We reserve the right to retaliate," Ahmadinejad said. "Experience has shown that we can defend our rights. They will strongly regret any action they may take."
Iran has balked at agreeing to demands by the UN’s nuclear overseeing agency to inspect the country’s nuclear facilities, and U.S. President Barack Obama convinced the Security Council to approve new sanctions, although much more watered down than those he originally proposed.
Ahmadinejad accused the United States of using “psychological warfare” by making what he called false statements that Iran is enriching uranium to make a nuclear weapon. “We call this bad temper," he said, and added that pushing off talks until August 20 “is a fine to punish them a bit so that they learn the custom of dialogue with our nation."
He also laid down new conditions for any country wanting to discuss Iran’s development of its nuclear power: declaration of policies towards Israel’s alleged nuclear arsenal, the Non-Proliferation Treaty and relations with Iran.
Ahmadinejad has scoffed at the new sanctions, saying that they are useless. The new resolution calls for freezing the assets of 40 additional companies, more than one third of which are associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, one of the most powerful institutions in Iran.
The new sanctions also place further restrictions on Iran’s buying missiles and other heavy weapons.