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Iranian President Defends Foreign Policy

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defended his government's aggressive foreign policy against the West regarding Iran's nuclear program, in a press conference, Saturday. He also claimed that Tehran's nuclear "dossier" is now closed and the country's "dignity" intact.

In a press conference to the lead-up to Iran's presidential election on June 12, Mr. Ahmadinejad went on the attack against his opponents, both inside and outside the country.

Mr. Ahmadinejad insisted that his government's foreign policy record was positive and that he had "defended Iran's dignity," against outside enemies, complaining that the previous reformist government had given in to Western demands over Tehran's nuclear program.

"We have gone on the offensive with our nuclear program," he says, "because if we retreat, [our enemies] advance. But when we advance, they retreat."

The Iranian president, who is running against three other candidates, says U.N. economic sanctions have done little to harm Iran.

"Four [U.N. Security Council] resolutions against us," he said. "What happened? What's the result? Once and for all we stood against the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council. They just insulted the government, and that's it. Where are the boycotts and the sanctions, now?"

Mr. Ahmadinejad went on to defend his record against the West, insisting that Iran "now has 7,000 centrifuges [for uranium enrichment]" and that the West has "backed down" on demands that Tehran stop enriching uranium.

"One day, they told us, you have ten days [to stop enriching uranium] and then we'll refer to the Security Council," he said. "[Then] they say, OK, to the end of this year, we have time (and) we said that we have no talks before the [presidential] elections. They were insisting to have negotiations before the elections. They called several times. They asked for dialogues. We told them we want to postpone it to after the elections, and Mr. Obama finally accepted it and said 'let's do it after the elections."

The Iranian president also alleged that his country's nuclear dossier was "closed" and that none of Iran's outside enemies would "dare attack the country," despite their "rhetoric."

When asked if Iran had not been ostracized by the West and if Tehran had not suffered economically, Mr. Ahmadinejad said Iran's economic woes were exaggerated.

Alluding to the U.N. Security Council, he concluded that "it is illogical that just four countries should rule the world." Iran has been a victim of dominance by other nations in the past, but "we won't allow it to happen ever again," he said.