Shanghai: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lashed out on Friday at the UN Security Council as a "tool of dictatorship" and said new UN sanctions over Tehran's nuclear programme "will have no effect”.
Speaking during a visit to the World Expo in Shanghai, Ahmadinejad denounced the sanctions vote as a bid by the United States to control the Middle East and by the five permanent Security Council members to "monopolise" nuclear energy.
"We have always said the Security Council is a tool in the hands of the United States. It is not democratic, it is a tool of dictatorship," the Iranian President told reporters.
He called the US-drafted resolution adopted earlier this week a "worthless paper" and said it would "have no effect" on the Islamic republic, already subject to three previous sets of UN sanctions.
"Some countries believe they can be powerful by weakening and intimidating other nations," he said.
"Those who believe they can continue their hegemony through intimidation are making a big mistake. ... The period of intimidation and coercion is over."
He further called Israel as "doomed" and singled out US President Barack Obama for scorn.
Ahmadinejad shied away from criticising China, which has emerged as Iran's closest trading partner.
"The main problem is the US administration, and we have no problem with others," he told reporters, accusing the United States of seeking to "swallow" the Middle East.
The visit to China comes at a delicate time in Tehran's relations with its ally Beijing, which signed on to the new round of sanctions.
The yes vote in the Security Council by China -- which has the power to veto such measures -- provoked an angry response from Iran's atomic chief, who warned Beijing it was quickly losing credibility with the Muslim world.
Swatting aside the US leader's offers of dialogue and rapprochement if Iran relents on its nuclear ambitions, Ahmadinejad said: "I think President Obama has made a big mistake... he knows the resolution will have no effect.”
"Very soon he will come to understand he has not made the right choice and he has blocked the way to having friendly ties with the Iranian people."
"It is clear the United States is not against nuclear bombs because they have a Zionist regime with nuclear bombs in the region," he said.
"They are trying to save the Zionist regime, but the Zionist regime will not survive. It is doomed."
Ahmadinejad said the entire architecture of global power was built to keep out smaller states.
The UN resolution expands an arms embargo and bars Iran from sensitive activities such as uranium mining.
It also authorises states to conduct high-seas inspections of vessels believed to be ferrying banned items for Iran and adds 40 entities to a list of people and groups subject to travel restrictions and financial sanctions.
Ahmadinejad, who arrived in Shanghai on Thursday, was not expected to meet Chinese leaders or visit Beijing during his stay.
Early in the day, he was mobbed by supporters as he walked through the Iranian pavilion at Expo, surrounded by a ring of Chinese security guards, their arms interlocked.
After inspecting several exhibits including a rug-weaving display, he signed the guest book in Farsi. "Peace among nations" was part of the message, according to pavilion staff.
When asked by a reporter about the sanctions, the Iranian leader did not reply, but an aide said: "Sanctions mean nothing."
The UN Security Council on Wednesday adopted a US-drafted resolution hitting Tehran with new military and financial sanctions -- punitive measures that Ahmadinejad likened to a "used hanky which should be thrown in the dustbin".
China's Western partners on the council say Iran is using its nuclear programme as a cover to develop atomic weapons, but Beijing has nevertheless maintained close economic and energy ties with Tehran.
Presidents Hu Jintao of China and Dmitry Medvedev of Russia -- whose country also backed the sanctions -- were in Tashkent on Friday for a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, in which Iran has observer status.
On Thursday, Iran's atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi lashed out at China over its yes vote.
"China is gradually losing its respectable position in the Islamic world and by the time it wakes up, it will be too late," he said, according to ISNA news agency.
Salehi also accused Beijing of "double standards" by adopting a different position towards its communist ally North Korea, which has abandoned the Non-Proliferation Treaty while Iran remains an adherent.
Beijing later took pains to reassure Iran of its long-term friendship.
"China highly values relations with Iran and feels they are conducive to regional peace, stability and development," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said on Thursday in Beijing.
Qin reiterated that the goal of the new resolution, the fourth round of UN sanctions against Tehran, was to bring Iran back to the negotiating table, not to shut the door on dialogue.
In Tehran, officials threatened on Thursday to downgrade ties with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN nuclear watchdog, in response to the new sanctions.
First Published: Friday, June 11, 2010, 16:15