Iran’s president attacks Obama on nuclear “threat”

Parisa Hafezi

TEHRAN
Wed Apr 7, 2010 2:05pm EDT
EDITORS' NOTE: Reuters and other foreign media are subject to Iranian restrictions on leaving the office to report, film or take pictures in Tehran. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) holds a flag as he waves to his supporters during his provincial trip to Orumieh, 946 km (591 miles) north west of Tehran, April 7, 2010. REUTERS/President.ir/Handout 

Credit: Reuters/President.ir/Handout

TEHRAN (Reuters) – Iran’s president issued a scathing personal attack on U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday, calling him an “inexperienced amateur” who was quick to threaten to use nuclear weapons against U.S. enemies.

Commenting on new U.S. policy restrictions on the use of atomic weapons which sent a stern message to nuclear-defiant Iran that it remained a potential target, hard-line Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Obama that Iran would not yield to threats.

“Obama made these latest remarks because he is inexperienced and an amateur politician,” Ahmadinejad said on Iranian television. “American politicians are like cowboys. Whenever they have legal shortcomings, their hands go to their guns.”

Obama made a diplomatic overture to Tehran soon after taking office in 2009, urging it to “unclench its fist.”

But since then a confrontation has intensified over Iran’s nuclear activities which the West suspects are aimed at developing an atomic bomb and Tehran says are for civilian use.

Obama is urging U.N. Security Council members to back new sanctions against Iran.

His changes to U.S. weapons policy were announced before a nuclear summit in Washington next week. He renounced the development of new atomic weapons and ruled out the use of nuclear arms against non-nuclear armed states.

But this came with a condition. Countries would be spared a U.S. nuclear response only if they are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran and North Korea would thus not be protected and be potential targets.

“Yesterday some news was published saying that he (Obama) has threatened to use nuclear and biochemical weapons against countries that don’t comply with America and which do not yield to America’s pressure,” Ahmadinejad said in the speech from the northwestern city of Urmia. “We hope these reports are false.”

Iran will host its own Nuclear Disarmament Conference on April 17-18. China, which has been courted by Obama to support sanctions against Iran, has said it might attend.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Wednesday that China would join talks with the United States, Britain, Russia, France and Germany in New York on Thursday to discuss possible sanctions against Iran

But he indicated this was not necessarily a sign that China was dropping its resistance to sanctions.

“Negotiations will be long, will they be over by the end of April? I hope so,” Kouchner said.

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