Last Updated: Sun Oct 17, 2010 00:20 am (KSA) 21:20 pm (GMT)

Ahmadinejad labels Iran sanctions "worthless”

Ahmadinejad gestures as he makes his way through a crowd outside the Iranian pavilion at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai
Ahmadinejad gestures as he makes his way through a crowd outside the Iranian pavilion at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad slammed the latest U.N. sanctions against it on Friday as lacking legal value and blasted global nuclear powers for keeping atomic technology from other states.

Ahmadinejad made the comments at the World Expo site in Shanghai, choosing a visit to his country's pavilion over an appearance at a regional security summit in Uzbekistan attended by Chinese and Russian leaders.

 Some of them have used destructive bombs. They are the perpetrators of using these weapons but they would prevent others from peacefully using nuclear technology 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

The visit to China comes at a delicate time in Tehran's relations with its ally Beijing, which signed on earlier this week to the new round of U.N. Security Council sanctions targeting the Islamic republic.

Ahmadinejad slammed the sanctions as lacking legal value, but said he did not expect China's support for the resolution to harm ties.

Ahmadinejad, speaking during a visit to China's commercial capital of Shanghai, called the U.N. Security Council a tool of the United States and branded Wednesday's resolution, "a piece of worthless paper."

The five veto-holding members of the Security Council wanted to monopolize nuclear energy for themselves, and the new sanctions would serve only to speed up Iran's development, he said.

"Nuclear states do not allow others to even peaceful use nuclear energy," Ahmadinejad said in a speech at an Iranian cultural event at the Shanghai Expo.

"Some of them have used destructive bombs. They are the perpetrators of using these weapons but they would prevent others from peacefully using nuclear technology," he said.

"They want to monopolize science and technology for themselves to protect their material interests."

Discontent with China

The yes vote in the Security Council by China—which has the power to veto such measures—provoked an angry response from Iran's atomic chief, who warned Beijing it was quickly losing credibility with the Muslim world.

Ahmadinejad, who arrived in Shanghai on Thursday, was not expected to meet Chinese leaders or visit Beijing during his stay.

Early in the day, he was mobbed by supporters as he walked through the Iranian pavilion at Expo, surrounded by a ring of Chinese security guards, their arms interlocked.

After inspecting several exhibits including a rug-weaving display, he signed the guest book in Farsi. "Peace among nations" was part of the message, according to pavilion staff.

When asked by a reporter about the sanctions, the Iranian leader did not reply, but an aide said: "Sanctions mean nothing."

Ahmadinejad was due to give a press conference in Shanghai at 3:30 p.m. (07:30 GMT) on Friday.

The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday adopted a US-drafted resolution hitting Tehran with new military and financial sanctions -- punitive measures that Ahmadinejad likened to a "used hanky which should be thrown in the dustbin."

 China is gradually losing its respectable position in the Islamic world and by the time it wakes up, it will be too late 
Iran\\\'s atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi

China's Western partners on the council say Iran is using its nuclear program as a cover to develop atomic weapons, but Beijing has nevertheless maintained close economic and energy ties with Tehran.

Presidents Hu Jintao of China and Dmitry Medvedev of Russia -- whose country also backed the sanctions -- were in Tashkent Friday for a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in which Iran has observer status.

On Thursday, Iran's atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi lashed out at China over its yes vote.

"China is gradually losing its respectable position in the Islamic world and by the time it wakes up, it will be too late," he said, according to ISNA news agency.

Salehi also accused Beijing of "double standards" by adopting a different position towards its communist ally North Korea, which has abandoned the Non-Proliferation Treaty while Iran remains an adherent.

Beijing later took pains to reassure Iran of its long-term friendship.

"China highly values relations with Iran and feels they are conducive to regional peace, stability and development," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Thursday in Beijing.

Qin reiterated that the goal of the new resolution, the fourth round of U.N. sanctions against Tehran, was to bring Iran back to the negotiating table, not to shut the door on dialogue.

In Tehran, officials threatened on Thursday to downgrade ties with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, in response to the new sanctions.

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