Sanctions won't stop Iran, president says
( Reuters ) - Sanctions will not succeed in stopping Iran's nuclear progress, its president said on Saturday, a day after major powers said they had "serious and constructive" talks about new U.N. punitive measures.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, speaking at an annual military parade to commemorate the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, also reiterated a call on U.S. and other foreign forces to leave neighbouring Iraq, the official IRNA news agency said.
"Those who think, that by using such decayed tools as psychological warfare and economic sanctions, they can stop the Iranian nation's progress are making a mistake," he said.
As he spoke, troops, tanks, and other military hardware passed by the podium in the parade area near the tomb of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic.
During the event, Iran showed off missiles including the Shahab-3, which it says can hit targets 2,000 km away, putting Israel or U.S. bases in the Gulf within range.
Iran is embroiled in a row with the West over its nuclear ambitions. The United States, which says Iran is trying to build an atomic bomb, has said it wants a diplomatic resolution to the standoff but has not ruled out military action if that fails.
Iran, which says its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, has threatened to hit back at U.S. interests in the Middle East if attacked.
Major powers met in Washington on Friday for talks about new U.N. Security Council sanctions aimed at trying to force Iran to halt its sensitive atom work. The Council has imposed two rounds of limited sanctions on Tehran since December.
The officials of the five permanent Security Council members and Germany said they will keep pursuing a "dual track" approach to Iran -- trying to persuade it to abandon such atomic work via negotiations while considering new sanctions.
The United States and Iran are also at loggerheads over the situation in Iraq, blaming each other for bloodshed there.
Iran has repeatedly demanded that Washington withdraw its troops from its neighbour, a call Ahmadinejad repeated.
"The nations throughout the region do not need the presence of the foreigners," he said.