World

Iranian president vows to fend off nuclear 'bullying'

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused "a few bullying powers" of trying to thwart his country's nuclear program when he appeared Tuesday before the UN General Assembly.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused "a few bullying powers" of trying to thwart his country's nuclear program when he appeared Tuesday before the UN General Assembly.

He said Iran's uranium enrichment program is for "peaceful purposes" and is not designed to produce nuclear weapons, as alleged by the U.S. and some of its European allies.

Iran is already under three sets of sanctions by the UN Security Council for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, but the U.S. is pushing for passage of a fourth set of sanctions.

Ahmadinejad said the countries that oppose Iran's nuclear program have nuclear weapons themselves and should be disarmed.

And he vowed Iran would resist any pressure to disband its program.

"Iran will resist the bullying and will continue to defend its rights," he said.

The Iranian leader also used the opportunity to once again condemn the U.S. occupation of Iraq, saying it was started under false pretences and has hurt millions of people since it began nearly six years ago.

As for Afghanistan, he said since NATO's military intervention began, the production of narcotics has multiplied and terrorism has spread.

The UN Security Council is unable to deal with the situation since many of its major decision-makers are NATO members, he said.

Ahmadinejad's speech came on the heels of a farewell address by U.S. President George W. Bush, who urged the international community to stand firm against the nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.

"A few nations, regimes like Syria and Iran, continue to sponsor terror," Bush told the UN General Assembly. "Yet their numbers are growing fewer, and they're growing more isolated from the world.

"The terrorists believe time is on their side, so they've made waiting out civilized nations part of their strategy. We must not allow them to succeed."

Ahmadinejad turned to his country's foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, at one point during Bush's address and gave a thumb's down.

With files from the Associated Press