TEHRAN, Jan 14, 2006 (AFP): Iran will not be "bullied" by the West in a stand-off over its nuclear programme, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday.
"Why are you hurting the reputation of international bodies? Why are you employing the Security Council? Is it your device to use? Doesn't that endanger world security? Doesn't unilateralism endanger security?" the president told a news conference.
Western nations are threatening to haul the Islamic republic before the UN Security Council over suspicions the country is seeking nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
"We have repeatedly said the Iranian nation does not need nuclear weapons. We are a civilised nation. The people who are seeking to solve all equations with force and bullying are the people who want weapons," Ahmadinejad said.
"According to agency regulations and the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), all member nations can have nuclear technology and no excuses or strategies can infringe on these rights, even inspections must not stop them from having their rights," he said.
"Despite the technological progress in the world, a few Western countries are mentally living in medieval times and say you don't have the right to scientific progress," he fumed.
"I tell those few Western countries that today it is time for you to create confidence. The time has passed for the language of bullying, domination and relying on your nuclear, chemical and biological weapons."
Iran dug in over its disputed nuclear programmeme Saturday, saying it would not reverse its decision to conduct sensitive atomic research work despite warnings it faced referral to the UN Security Council.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was due to give a press conference -- only his second since his shock election win last June -- with the controversial hardliner expected to repeat his defiant stance.
He has already vowed not to compromise "one iota" on his country's nuclear programmeme, especially efforts to master the fuel cycle.
Quoted by the official news agency IRNA, national security spokesman Hossein Entezami said Iran was still open to negotiations with the European Union-but said it was not ready to discuss research activities at the centre of the current stand-off.
"The subject of the negotiations with the Europeans is uniquely (full-scale) uranium enrichment, and the matter of nuclear research is not a part of that," he said. "The decision by Iran to carry out research activities is serious."
Iran resumed research this week, with the work involving small scale enrichment to test centrifuges. It insists this is separate from full-scale uranium enrichment, which remains frozen for the time being.