He also accused the West of being "war criminals" who had equipped Israel with nuclear arms.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Saturday that Iran's nuclear programme was the "nation's right".
   
"If they want to destroy the Iranian nation's rights by that course, they will not succeed," he told a news conference when asked about European moves to refer Tehran to the world body over a suspected atomic weapons programme. 

War criminals

He also branded Western supporters of Israel "war criminals" and said that they would soon be tried in Palestinian courts.

"The ones who openly support the occupying regime of al-Quds (Jerusalem) must know their names will be on the list of war criminals and in the near future will be put on trial in Palestinian courts," Ahmadinejad said.

"Why have you equipped the occupying regime of al-Quds with atomic weapons? It is us who should inspect the arsenals of you and the al-Quds occupying regime and seal and destroy them"

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
Iranian president

"Why have you equipped the occupying regime of al-Quds with atomic weapons? It is us who should inspect the arsenals of you and the al-Quds occupying regime and seal and destroy them."

The comment was a response to remarks made on Friday by Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and George Bush, the US president.

"If the two of them (Merkel and Bush) are supporting the occupiers of al-Quds, they should explicitly admit it and this means that they are taking part in the crimes being committed there," Ahmadinejad said.

"If you allow a free referendum take place you will see what will happen - a map back to 70 years ago when there was no Israel."

This comment echoed his call last year for the Jewish state to be "wiped off the map".

Nuclear dispute
   
Iran raised the stakes in the nuclear dispute this week by removing UN seals on equipment that purifies uranium, which can be used for power or, if highly enriched, in bombs.
   
The United States and the European Union's three biggest powers have said talks with Iran on the issue are at a dead end, and that they will ask the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer the case to the Security Council.

Britain, Germany and France said this week that Iran had consistently breached its commitments and failed to show the world its nuclear activities were peaceful.

Tehran denies suggestions that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, and says it needs nuclear technology only to generate electricity.