updated 10/30/2007 4:10:49 PM ET 2007-10-30T20:10:49

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday shrugged off new U.S. sanctions targeting Iran, saying the country would not succumb to pressure from Washington, official media reported.

The report by Iran’s official news agency, IRNA, said Ahmadinejad called the unilateral sanctions by the U.S hollow and said it showed that the “Americans are not able to harm us.”

“Americans think that they can force the Iranian nation to give in by resorting to unilateral economic sanctions,” he told a group of students.

The remarks by Ahmadinejad were the first reaction by the Iranian president since Washington announced the new sanctions on Thursday. The move bans dealings with a host of companies connected to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite force that has extensive business holdings in oil, construction and other sectors.

The sanctions bar American companies from working with those companies, but also puts pressure on international firms and banks not to deal with them as well.

The U.S. and some of its allies claim Iran plans to obtain a nuclear weapon. Iran denies it is seeking nuclear weapons, saying its program aims only to produce electricity. Washington also accuses forces affiliated to the Guard Corps in arming insurgents who targets American soldiers in Baghdad.

On Tuesday, Iran again denied the claim. “We are not happy about the loss of any human being even American soldiers in Iraq and we are worrying (about it),” said Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, according to state TV, which broadcast him speaking in a conference on Central Asia.

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