TEHRAN, Iran (AP) _ Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed Friday that Iran would defend its nuclear program, describing his country as a potential role model for others trying to develop advanced technology.
State television reported the hard-liner's speech to a crowd in a northern Iranian town, delivered a day after the U.N. nuclear watchdog reported that Iran had not heeded the world body's demand to roll back its nuclear program.
``The Iranian nation has resisted all bullies and corrupt powers and it will fully defend its all rights,'' the broadcast quoted Ahmadinejad as telling people in Fuman. It did not say whether the president elaborated.
Ahmadinejad declared that if his country reaches the ``peaks of technology and science, then it will be a role model'' for other countries, state television quoted him as saying, apparently referring to nuclear power.
The television did not report whether Ahmadinejad mentioned the report on Iran given Thursday by the International Atomic Energy Agency to the U.N. Security Council.
The IAEA told the council that Iran has ignored a Security Council ultimatum to freeze uranium enrichment and has instead expanded its program by setting up nearly 1,000 centrifuges.
The report said Tehran also has continued to build a heavy water reactor and related facilities, and has ignored a Security Council call to cooperate with the IAEA in its efforts to learn about suspicious nuclear activities.
Senior diplomats from the five permanent Security Council nations and Germany will meet on Monday in London to start work on a new resolution to try to pressure Iran to suspend its uranium enrichment program, which can lead to the production of nuclear weapons.
The council issued three demands to Iran when it adopted its resolution Dec. 23 _ freeze enrichment, stop building heavy water facilities and fully cooperate with the IAEA.
It introduced limited economic sanctions and gave Iran 60 days to comply _ a deadline that expired Wednesday.
The United States and its Western allies have insisted Iran must suspend enrichment before it will enter any negotiations over its nuclear program _ a condition Tehran has rejected as it pushes ahead with developing its enrichment facilities.
Iran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful, but the United States and other Western countries accuse it of using it as a cover to develop weapons.