File photo: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Tehran - Western sanctions against Iran are “only a little brake,” which will not stop the country from pursuing its nuclear programmes, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday, as the country refused to stop its 20 percent uranium enrichment.

“You (West) are doing everything such as oil (embargo) and currency (halt on bank transfers) to stop the will of the Iranian nation but this might only be a little brake which will not stop us from continuing our move,” the ISNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

The president's comments came as the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation, Fereydoun Abbasi, said that Iran would not suspended the 20 percent uranium enrichment despite Western pressure.

“We will pursue with the 20 percent enrichment for the Tehran medical reactor as long as there is need for that and there will be no suspension just because others (West) want it,” Abbasi told ISNA.

Sanctions by the United Nations, United States and the European Union to push Tehran to change its stance on its nuclear programmes, have in recent months led to an economic crisis in the country.

“Friendship with Iran would be to your (West) benefit, but if you don't, you will regret this in the coming years,” Ahmadinejad added.

Iran has repeatedly argued its nuclear programmes are solely for peaceful purposes and in line with international regulations.

Abbasi had previously said that at 20 percent, Iran would only enrich as much uranium as needed for fuel at the Tehran medical reactor, “not more, not less.”

Although suspension of 20 percent enrichment alone would not be enough for settling the nuclear dispute between Iran and world powers, it could still be a first step to get out of the almost 10-year deadlock.

Tehran has said that the 20 percent uranium enrichment was not economic for Iran and that the country preferred to purchase that - or the fuel rods - from abroad.

But as long as no agreement was reached, it would continue with the 20 percent process itself. - Sapa-dpa