Ahmadinejad: Sanctions won’t bring Iran to its knees

President says threats to his country ‘do not impact our policies’

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday September 24. (photo credit: AP/Richard Drew)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday September 24. (photo credit: AP/Richard Drew)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday said Tehran is unfazed by the rhetoric surrounding a military strike against its nuclear facilities, adding that Iran has no worries regarding a possible Israeli attack.

In an interview on CNN with Fareed Zakaria that was set to air on Sunday, Zakaria asked Ahmadinejad whether he regards US President Barack Obama’s determination to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons as a bluff, as he does Israel’s threats. Ahmadinejad parried the query and picked apart Zakaria’s wording.

“I have never used the word ‘bluff.’ When we say we do not take it seriously, we mean that it impacts — it does not impact — our policies in the slightest,” Ahmadinejad said.

Ahmadinejad then equated Israel with “bombers and criminals and the terrorists” who can dent, but not destroy, Iran. “And even if they do something — and even if they do something hypothetically, it will not affect us fundamentally.”

He said he was “not a fan” of sanctions, but that many Europeran countries continued to trade with Iran. Sanctions, he said, would not bring Iran “to its knees.”

In an interview with Piers Morgan that aired last week on CNN, Ahmadinejad dismissed the credibility of Israeli warnings regarding Iran’s nuclear program. He said Israel is “very adventuresome, very much seeking to fabricate things” regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

“I think they see themselves at the end of the line. And I do firmly believe that they seek to create the opportunities for themselves and their adventurous behaviors,” Ahmadinejad said.

Last week Ahmadinejad told the UN General Assembly that his country was under threat of military action from “uncivilized Zionists.”

“Continued threat by the uncivilized Zionists to resort to military action against our great nation is a clear example of this bitter reality,” he said in the address.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday followed Ahmadinejad’s speech with a dramatic address on the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program before the UN General Assembly, complete with resort to a cartoon bomb drawing. Netanyahu called on the West to set clear red lines to Iran.

“Imagine the world with a nuclear-armed al-Qaeda,” Netanyahu said, noting that it made no difference if such weapons were in the hands of “the world’s most radical terrorist regime or terrorist organization.” It was the “same hatred, same violence.”

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