Iran has threatened to use "oil as a weapon" against the West if the issue of its uranium enrichment is referred to the United Nations Security Council, the only sanctioning organ of the world body.
"Some European countries and America are using the Security Council as a threat. They threaten us so that we give up our rights," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview to be published in the upcoming issue of the Time magazine.
The United States and some Western powers want the International Atomic Energy Agency board to refer the issue to the Council which is the only organ of the United Nations to authorise imposition of sanctions.
Time said Ahmadinejad implied if the issue was taken to the Council, Iran would consider a variety of responses, possibly the use of oil as a weapon and denial of access to its nuclear facilities to IAEA inspectors.
Uttam's Take: The Iran Web
"We have had more than 1,200 man-days of inspections (of nuclear facilities by IAEA inspectors), something that is really without precedent in the last 40 years. Their monitoring cameras are everywhere in our facilities," he said.
But at the same time "we see that some powers continue to expand their armaments... The occupiers of Jerusalem have been getting nuclear warheads. But there is absolutely no report about controls in countries where nuclear arms already exist. So we think that this whole attitude towardS Iran is actually a political posture," he added.
On Iraq, Ahmadinejad said his country wants a speedy end to the US occupation, and demanded an internationally sanctioned trial for Saddam Hussein, in addition to the legal proceeding already planned by the Iraqi government.
"As for Saddam," the Iranian president said, "There are crimes he committed inside Iraq, and the government there should try him. But we think there should also be an international court, an international trial."
Iran suffered as many as one million dead in a long-running war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq.
Asked if he had a "personal message" for President Bush concerning hurricane Katrina, the Iranian leader said, "Wherever people are in a difficult situation, it causes a lot of pain for us. And I think that the government of the USA should have acted much quicker... and if people had been informed earlier, they would have been able to help better."