President Mahmud Ahmadinejad says he believes Iran will be able to withstand any new United Nations sanctions and the pressure of the United States and its allies over his country's nuclear program.
Speaking at a news conference in New York on the sidelines of a UN nuclear nonproliferation conference, Ahmadinejad said that while the Islamic Republic does not welcome sanctions, it does not fear such measures either.
"While we do not welcome sanctions, we do not fear them either," Ahmadinejad said. "We feel and think that the U.S. government will be damaged more than us by those sanctions."
Ahmadinejad warned, however, that adoption of a new round of sanctions would, from his government's point of view, block the possibility of any improvement in ties between Iran and the United States.
The Iranian president also said his country will not withdraw from the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), as North Korea has done.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said earlier on May 4 in New York that Moscow was "reasonably optimistic" that powers on the UN Security Council will be able to reach agreement on a fourth round of sanctions against Iran for failing to curb uranium enrichment activities.
Ryabkov described the negotiations on sanctions as "slowly moving forward."
compiled from agency reports