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United Nations: Iran does not take the threat of an Israeli strike on its nuclear infrastructure seriously and is unconcerned by Western economic sanctions, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said today.
In New York ahead of an address to the United Nations General Assembly, Ahmadinejad struck a defiant stance yesterday before an audience of Iranian expatriates and then in an exchange with a group of senior US journalists.
"A number of uncultured Zionists that threaten the Iranian nation today are never counted and are never paid any attention in the equations of the Iranian nation," he told the expatriates, according to his own website.
Reporters in his meeting with US media leaders confirmed that he had said: "While the Iranian people are ready to defend ourselves, I don't believe the threats are of fundamental importance."
Ahmadinejad went on to make his oft repeated claim that Western sanctions against Iranian economic interests were hurting the European economy more than his own, and denied allegations that Tehran aims to build a nuclear weapon.
Western powers and Israel say that Iran's uranium enrichment program is designed to produce fuel for an atomic bomb, and Israel has warned that it reserves the right to take pre-emptive military action.
US has also said it would not tolerate Iran becoming a nuclear-armed power, but along with its European allies, is still trying to use economic and diplomatic pressure to force Iran to halt its centrifuges.