Ahmadinejad on Obama's hope to bring sanctions 'within weeks': Bring it on

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday dismissed President Barack Obama's threat of harsher sanctions this week, saying that the efforts would not end up having an adverse effect on the country.

"They imagine that if do not supply the Iranian nation with gasoline, the Iranian nation would go upset or weak, but this won't be the case because we would rapidly tell our experts to produce gasoline at the earliest," Ahmadinejad said at a ceremony to open an iron ore plant, according to the semi-official Fars News Agency.

ADVERTISEMENT
"Do no imagine that you can stop Iran's construction. Iran will be constructed amidst your deepest and strongest animosity because the more obvious your animosity becomes, the more motivation our nation will have for construction and progress (of the country)," he added.

Ahmadinejad likewise dismissed Obama's video to mark the start of Nowruz, the traditional Persian New Year's celebration, as simply containing "three or four beautiful words."

"They say that 'we have extended our hands to the people of Iran but the government of Iran and the people of Iran pushed it back'. What hand did you extend toward us?" Ahmadinejad said in the televised speech, according to Reuters.

"What changed? Your sanctions were lifted? The adverse propaganda was stopped? The pressure was alleviated? Did you change your attitude in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine?"

Ahmadinejad challenged the White House to press forward.

"You should know that the more hostile you are, the stronger an incentive our people will have, it will double," he said. "They said 'we want sanctions on petroleum'. Why don't you do it? The sooner the better."

In appearing with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday, Obama said he would continue to press for sanctions against Iran "within weeks," not months, at the United Nations.

The administration expressed confidence after an hourlong phone conversation Friday between Obama and Chinese premier Hu Jintao that China, a veto-wielding member of the Security Council long reluctant to back new sanctions, that the People's Republic could be brought on board the international effort.

But afterward, Iran nuclear envoy Saeed Jalili swiftly met with his Chinese counterparts in Beijing.

"(Our) Chinese friends all say this problem can only be solved through negotiations and peaceful means. And some big countries should give up their incorrect actions. Pressuring through sanctions will be ineffective," Jalili said, without directly saying if China intended to come on board with Washington.