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Iran nuclear sanctions: Ahmadinejad says they won't bite

The US, at the urging of partners, has weakened proposed Iran nuclear sanctions at the urging of allies. A defiant President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said no country could stop 'the fast speeding train of Iranian progress.'

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addresses the nation on the occasion of Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, in Tehran on March 20.

Handout/Reuters

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Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed the impact of any new nuclear sanctions on Thursday as the United States weakened proposed measures against the Islamic Republic in a bid to win broader support on the UN Security Council.

“Let me tell you, the era when they could hurt the Iranian nation is over,” the archconservative Mr. Ahmadinejad said in a speech broadcast on national TV.

“The Iranian nation is at such a height that their evil hands can’t touch it,” he said. “They want to stop, even for an hour, the fast speeding train of Iranian progress. But they will be unable to do it.”

Iran's determination to continue with its controversial nuclear program, despite six major world powers “making a fuss” about it, in Ahmadinejad’s words, was not enough to convince those powers to agree during a conference call on Wednesday to impose a fourth set of UN sanctions on Iran.

On Thursday the Wall Street Journal reported that US diplomats have removed a number of strict measures – including closing international airspace and waters for Iran’s state-owned air cargo and shipping lines, and “choking off Tehran’s access” to global banking services and capital markets – in order to make the measures more acceptable to Russia and China.

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