updated 8/1/2006 2:48:52 PM ET 2006-08-01T18:48:52

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday rejected a U.N. Security Council resolution that would give his nation until Aug. 31 to suspend uranium enrichment.

Instead, Ahmadinejad insisted Tehran would pursue its nuclear program.

“My words are the words of the Iranian nation. Throughout Iran, there is one slogan: ’The Iranian nation considers the peaceful use of nuclear fuel production technology its right,”’ Ahmadinejad said.

The Security Council passed a resolution Monday calling for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment by the end of August or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions.

Ahmadinejad said Iran will not give in to threats from the United Nations.

“If some think they can still speak with threatening language to the Iranian nation, they must know that they are badly mistaken,” he said in a speech broadcast live on state-run television.

“Our nation has made its decision. We have passed the difficult stages. Today, the Iranian nation has acquired the nuclear technology.”

Drafted by Britain, France and Germany with U.S. backing, the resolution follows a July 12 agreement — by the foreign ministers of those four countries, plus Russia and China — to refer Tehran to the Security Council for not responding to the incentives package.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi called the resolution “destructive” and “without legal foundation.”

“It has been designed to exert pressure on Iran and block the path of dialogue through a destructive and inappropriate resolution,” he said.

Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations on Monday also rejected the Security Council’s action, saying the resolution would make negotiations more difficult surrounding a Western incentives package offered in June to Iran in exchange for suspending enrichment.

Russia increases pressure
Russia said Iran should heed world opinion because the resolution “permits the continuation of efforts to resolve the problem by political and diplomatic means.”

“We call on Iran to listen to the opinion of world society,” a Foreign Ministry statement said Tuesday.

Because of Russian and Chinese demands, the resolution’s text was watered down from earlier drafts that would have made the threat of political and economic sanctions immediate. The resolution now requires the council to hold more discussions before it considers sanctions.

It was passed by a vote of 14-1. Qatar, which represents Arab states on the council, cast the lone dissenting vote.

Iran has said it would formally respond Aug. 22 to the incentives package, but a top Iranian lawmaker said Tuesday the Security Council resolution has effectively made the offer “null and void.”

President Bush praised the resolution Monday, saying it sends a message to Iran that “the world is intent on working together to make sure that they do not end up with a nuclear weapon or the know-how to build a nuclear weapon.”

The United States has accused Iran of seeking nuclear weapons. Tehran has denied the allegation and maintains its nuclear program is peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.

The resolution would call on the U.N. nuclear agency, the Vienna, Austria-based International Atomic Energy Agency, to report back by Aug. 31 on Iran’s compliance with the resolution’s demands.

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