Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday warned that Tehran could halt UN inspections and quit the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if subjected to increased pressure over its disputed nuclear programme.
The threat came the day after world powers referred the crisis back to the Security Council -- which could impose sanctions -- over a failure by the Islamic republic to respond to demands it suspend work that could lead to the production of nuclear weapons.
"Up to now the Iranian people have acted within the framework of the NPT and the IAEA," the president asserted in reference to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency.
"But if they reach the conclusion that Western countries do not have goodwill and sincerity... They (the Iranian people) will revise their policy," he said in comments carried by the website of Iranian state television.
But the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany decided they had lost patience with Iran.
"The Iranians have given no indication at all that they are ready to engage seriously on the substance of our proposals," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy said in a statement agreed with his colleagues from the US, Britain, Germany, Russia and China.
"We have no choice but to return to the United Nations Security Council."