TEHRAN: Iran's president issued a scathing personal attack on U.S. President Barack Obama, calling him an "inexperienced amateur" who was quick to threaten to use nuclear weapons against U.S. enemies.
Commenting on new U.S. policy restrictions on the use of atomic weapons which sent a stern message to nuclear-defiant Iran that it remained a potential target, hard-line Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Obama that Iran would not yield to threats.
"Obama made these latest remarks because he is inexperienced and an amateur politician," Ahmadinejad said on Iranian television. "American politicians are like cowboys. Whenever they have legal shortcomings, their hands go to their guns."
Obama made a diplomatic overture to Tehran soon after taking office in 2009, urging it to "unclench its fist."
But since then a confrontation has intensified over Iran's nuclear activities which the West suspects are aimed at developing an atomic bomb and Tehran says are for civilian use.
Obama is urging U.N. Security Council members to back new sanctions against Iran.
His changes to U.S. weapons policy were announced before a nuclear summit in Washington next week. He renounced the development of new atomic weapons and ruled out the use of nuclear arms against non-nuclear armed states.
But this came with a condition. Countries would be spared a U.S. nuclear response only if they are in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran and North Korea would thus not be protected and be potential targets.