Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday ripped into the United States for pushing for new UN sanctions against Tehran, warning U.S. President Barack Obama he had made a “big mistake”.
The diatribe against Washington came in Shanghai, where Ahmadinejad was participating in “Iran Day” at the World Expo in China, which also backed the measures against Tehran over its suspect nuclear program.
“I think President Obama has made a big mistake . . . he knows the resolution will have no effect,” Ahmadinejad told a news conference.
“Very soon he will come to understand he has not made the right choice and he has blocked the way to having friendly ties with the Iranian people.”
He accused Washington of trying to “swallow” the entire Middle East with its “mentally backward” policies and slammed Obama for his support of Israel, Iran’s arch-foe.
“The nuclear program is just a pretext — the government of the U.S. is trying to swallow the entire Middle East region,” the Iranian leader told reporters.
“On the pretext of controlling the Middle East, the U.S. is trying to control the entire world and Iran is never going to allow the United States to do so,” he added.
“The United States has sacrificed the interests of its people for the Zionist regime.”
He accused Obama of reneging on a pledge to “eliminate the unilateralism and bullying of the previous administration” of George W. Bush.
“Now he has embarked on the same path as Bush . . . so this is an end of the model for change,” Ahmadinejad said.
The UN Security Council, which counts Iran’s close ally China as a permanent veto-wielding member, adopted a U.S.-drafted resolution on Wednesday aimed at reining in Tehran’s suspect nuclear program.
Iran maintains its uranium enrichment program is for peaceful civilian purposes, while Western nations have charged that it is covertly seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
The resolution expands an arms embargo and bars Iran from sensitive activities such as uranium mining.
It also authorises states to conduct high-seas inspections of vessels believed to be ferrying banned items for Iran and adds 40 entities to a list of people and groups subject to travel restrictions and financial sanctions.
Obama on Wednesday hailed the sanctions as the “toughest . . . ever faced by the Iranian government”, and which sent an “unmistakable message” about the world’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation.
He reiterated that the sanctions vote did not spell the end of negotiations, and urged Tehran to take a “different and better path”.