Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he rejects UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea for conducting a nuclear weapons test, and accused the US of using the council as a "weapon to impose its hegemony."
Ahmadinejad also defiantly rejected as "illegal" a Security Council demand that Tehran suspend its own uranium enrichment activities and said Tehran will continue its nuclear activities without any fear.
"Some Western countries have turned the UN Security Council into a weapon to impose their hegemony and issue resolutions against countries that oppose them," Ahmadinejad was quoted on state-run TV as saying yesterday.
The president did not mention North Korea by name, but he was referring to a council resolution, which imposes sanctions on North Korea and calls Pyongyang's claimed nuclear test "a clear threat to international peace and security."
Ahmadinejad's comments are the first Iranian official reaction to UN sanctions against North Korea.
"They [US] use the council for threats and intimidation," the Iranian leader said said.
Iran has not criticized North Korea for conducting a nuclear test and instead blamed Washington, saying the US's pressures on Pyongyang had forced North Korea to conduct the test.
In return, the US warned Iran on Sunday, saying Tehran should take lessons from the sanctions imposed on North Korea for defying the international community on its nuclear weapons program.
While North Korea has acknowledged that it seeks nuclear weapons as a deterrent against US threats, Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful and intended to generate electricity.
"I hope the lesson they learn is that if they continue to pursue nuclear weapons, they will face the same kind of isolation and restrictions that we have just imposed on the North Koreans," US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said on Sunday.
North Korea's claim to have tested an atomic bomb could embolden Iran as it defies the UN Security Council and the US over its own nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad said Iran's nuclear activities was "within international regulations" and said Tehran will not give in to pressures to stop its nuclear program.
"Mounting threats and pressures against Iran's peaceful nuclear activities won't cause even one iota of hesitation in the will of the Iranian nation to continue this path [nuclear technology)]," Ahmadinejad said.
"Iran won't be intimidated," he said.
Iran has ignored an Aug. 31 deadline set by the Security Council to stop uranium enrichment. Uranium enriched to low level is used to produce nuclear fuel and generate electricity but further enrichment makes its suitable for use in atomic bomb.
The US and some of its allies accuse Iran of seeking nuclear weapons.
Tehran maintains its program is peaceful and merely aimed at generating electricity, not bomb.
Iran says its nuclear program is part of a plan to provide 20,000MW of electricity through nuclear energy in the next two decades.