Nuclear ambitions

 

He said Washington had not campaigned further against Tehran, despite recent UN Security Council sanctions over Iran's nuclear programme.

 

He said:

"In 2003, they openly threatened to attack Iran. Now they have indirectly made such threats"

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president

"US rhetoric against Iran has not increased.

 

"In 2003, they openly threatened to attack Iran. Now they have indirectly made such threats.

 

"They want to put us under pressure because they see the Iranian nation as an obstacle in the way of their goals in the region, but they are unable to do so."

 

The US is firmly against Iran's uranium enrichment, a process that can produce material for nuclear reactors or bombs.

 

Washington and its allies accuse Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons. Iran says its nuclear programme is purely for civilian use.

 

US military mobilised

 

The US aircraft carrier USS John C Stennis has been sent to the Gulf as part of a buildup of forces that Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, hopes will show Iran that US military power is undiminished.

 

Ahmadinejad has recently faced criticism in the local press and has been accused of stirring opposition to Iran by taking a hard-line on the nuclear dispute.

 

"Iran is not seeking confrontation with anybody," he told interviewers.

 

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Ahmadinejad appeared indifferent to the prospect of a US military strike against Iran, which has been mooted as a response to its nuclear programme.

 

"The United States is unable to inflict serious damage on Iran," he said.

 

Ahmadinejad has recently been accused of failing to improve Iran's economy. He blamed inflation on the economic structure he inherited when he took office in 2005.

 

He also said the rise in prices was partly due to the early arrival of winter and what he called fabricated reports in the media.