Ahmadinejad says China-Iran ties unhurt by sanctions

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said China’s support for the latest U.N. sanctions against it would not harm ties, but slammed Beijing along with other nuclear powers for wanting to monopolize the technology.

Ahmadinejad, speaking during a visit to China’s commercial capital of Shanghai on Friday, dismissed Wednesday’s resolution, triggered by a nuclear program the West believes is aimed at developing atomic weapons, as “a piece of worthless paper.”

Asked if Tehran was upset by China’s vote, he highlighted the strength of ties with a country that buys millions of barrels of Iranian crude each year, had opposed new restrictions for months and together with Russia watered down the package voted on.

“There is no reason to control or weaken the relationship (with China). The main problem is the United States,” he told a news conference after visiting the city’s flagship World Expo.

“The U.S. administration is abusing power in the (U.N.) Security Council in order to impose its hegemony on other nations,” the president said, speaking through a translator.

The resolution extended punitive measures against Iran over its protracted refusal to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment activity and open up to U.N. nuclear inspectors.

Ahmadinejad was in Shanghai to attend the Iran day at the ongoing World Expo, and both China and Iran said the visit was purely related to that event.

The president lavished praise on cultural ties and shared values and targeted most of his criticism at Washington, though China was included in a sweeping attack on the U.N. Security Council.

“Five members have the veto rights, nuclear bombs and nuclear energy in their company and they want to monopolize all this technology for themselves,” the president said.

The five permanent members, the only ones able to block resolutions, are the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France.


He said Iran would not suspend cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over the sanctions.

“There is no reason (for inspectors) to leave Iran. We have no problem with our peaceful nuclear program,” he said, adding that Iran would push ahead with making its own enriched uranium and sanctions would act only as a spur to developing technology.

He also thanked Brazil and Turkey, which have negotiated with Iran in recent months, for voting against the sanctions, saying their support signaled the formation of a “new front of independent countries.”

The latest resolution received the least support of four meted out against Iran since 2006.

A senior German legislator said earlier this week Turkey and Brazil made a “big mistake” by voting against the sanctions since this may have encouraged Tehran to think it was not isolated.

Ahmadinejad slammed U.S. policy as deceitful and misguided and said the country’s leader was naive about foreign affairs.

“Maybe he is very immature. I think Mr (Barack) Obama does not know the world very well,” he said, adding that the U.S. president was particularly in the dark about Iran and its people.

The U.S. Congress is expected to pass additional sanctions on Iran, possibly as early as this month, and European leaders may agree next week on the need for further restrictions.

Additional reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Ben Blanchard