Ahmadinejad: Security Council resolutions will not affect Iran's nuclear program

U.N. Security Council resolutions will not make Iran give up uranium enrichment, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Friday, adding that the world would enjoy peace if it were not for U.S. bullying.

The president spoke in two northwestern towns shortly before the International Atomic Energy Agency issued a report that said Iran had ignored a 30-day deadline from the Security Council to suspend enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for power generators or material for nuclear warheads.

The U.N. agency's report also found Iran had failed to answer questions intended to ascertain whether it was attempting to build nuclear weapons, reports AP.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has concluded that Iran has successfully enriched uranium, and is ignoring international calls to stop it. That is the main finding of an eight-page report sent to the Security Council Friday by IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei.

The report says more than three years of studying Iran's nuclear program have failed to determine whether it is aimed at producing weapons, and called on Tehran to be more cooperative.

American and European members of the Security Council seized on the report to push their case for an immediate and unified diplomatic response, while China and Russia urged caution, informs Voice of America.

According to Iran Mania, "The Iranian nation does not hold any esteem for such pointless resolutions," hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said as the deadline expired.

He also lashed out at "corrupt enemies and arrogant powers", vowing that "the Iranian nation is ready to defend its rights with its bare hands".

Analysts believe that the regime's increasingly defiant tone highlights one of several convictions within Iran's leadership, totally dominated by religious right-wingers since Ahmadinejad's shock election win last June.

"The regime is very confident. It feels it has popular support," explained an Iranian writer who spoke on condition of anonymity. "After a bit of a shaky start, Ahmadinejad is actually growing in stature."

Since taking office, Ahmadinejad has embraced nationalistic positions, hammering home Iran's "right" to have a nuclear programme and drawing on the seep sense of national pride shared by many ordinary Iranians.

Although his anti-Israeli outbursts are causing alarm in the West, many Iranian observers say his straight-talking has cemented his stature at home.

Furthermore, the reformist opposition appears to have gone into hibernation.

O.Ch.