TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on Sunday compared the power of Iran's enemies to a "mosquito," saying Iran now deals with the West over its nuclear activities from a position of power.
The comment from Ahmadinejad comes as Iran is negotiating with the West over a U.N.-backed proposal to ship its uranium abroad for further enrichment.
The United States and its allies have been pushing for the U.N.-backed agreement as a way to reduce Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium to prevent the possibility that Iran may turn it into weapons-grade uranium, material needed for the core of a nuclear bomb.
The U.N. plan would require Iran to send 1.2 tons of low-enriched uranium — around 70 percent of its stockpile — to Russia in one batch by year's end, for processing to create more refined fuel for a Tehran research reactor.
Iran has indicated that it may agree to send only "part" of its stockpile in several shipments. Should the talks fail to help Iran obtain the fuel from abroad, Iran has threatened to enrich uranium to the higher level needed to power the research reactor itself domestically.
After further enrichment in Russia, France would convert the uranium into fuel rods that would be returned to Iran for use in the reactor in Tehran that produces medical isotopes.
"While enemies have used all their capacities … the Iranian nation is standing powerfully and they are like a mosquito," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by a government Web site.
He also said Iran doesn't trust the West when it sits for talks.
"Given the negative record of Western powers, the Iranian government … looks at the talks with no trust. But realities dictate to them to interact with the Iranian nation," he said, according to the site.