Ahmadinejad Defiant in Face of U.N. Sanctions, Israeli Military

The Iranian president says country will "definitely continue" nuclear program.

ByABC News via logo
May 4, 2010, 7:20 PM

May 5, 2010 — -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flatly stated his country will "definitely continue" its nuclear program despite the potential threat of Israeli military action -- which Ahmadinejad brushed off completely -- and the gathering of support for new, U.S.-proposed sanctions.

"[It's] no problem," Ahmadinejad told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos of President Obama's recent push for a fourth round of sanctions against Iran. "Any measure he takes will be proportionately confronted by a position that Iran will take ... we will act the same way as we have been doing so far against hostilities. Don't worry about us, we know how to defend ourselves.

"We will not accept something that's forced upon us... Therefore let's put it aside. This is not something that by threatening Iran or putting pressure on Iran, will force Iran to change its positions. This is not something that will work. Its time has passed," he said.

Ahmadinejad said the new round of sanctions -- which both Chinese leaders agreed to in concept and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he would support if implemented effectively -- were illegal based on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and implied that the U.S. represented the greater threat to global security.

"Which one is more dangerous? Yesterday the United States announced that 'We have more than 5,000 atomic bombs.' Is 5,000 more dangerous or a country that might get the atomic bomb? Which is more dangerous for the world's security?" he said. "This opinion that some American authorities have are the root cause of the world's problems -- that someone who possesses nuclear bombs [to] tell others not to use it for peaceful means."

Click here to read a full transcript of George Stephanopoulos' interview with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton disclosed the number of U.S. nuclear weapons -- 5,113 -- for the first time Monday at the U.N. before rebuking Ahmadinejad for his claims that morning that the U.S. used its nuclear weapons to threaten other countries.

"This morning, Iran's president offered the same tired, false and sometimes wild accusations against the United States and other parties at this conference," Clinton said Monday. "That's not surprising. Iran will do whatever it can to divert attention away from its own record and to attempt to evade accountability."

The following day Ahmadinejad called Clinton an "enemy of Iran" on PBS's "Charlie Rose Show," but later told ABC News he was not referring to her.

"It's the measures that we're referring to that are hostile, not people," he said in the interview with George Stephanopoulos. "It's not individuals that we're involved with. If there is an action taken against Iran, then it is considered a hostile action."

However, he said, "it is obvious that Mrs. Clinton constantly is engaged in taking hostile actions against Iran."

It's a stance Ahmadinejad said Obama does not appear to share, despite his comments last month in support of the new sanctions.

"Mrs. Clinton is interested in speedily moving relations with Iran to the point of a clash," he said. "Based on the information we possess, Mr. Obama does not have such an opinion. But there's a lot of pressure going around."