Published: Sep 20, 2010 1:15 AM EDT
Updated: Sep 19, 2010 10:15 PM EDT

NEW YORK (AP) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says "the future belongs to Iran," and challenged the United States to accept that his country has a major role in the world.

The comment came in an hour-long interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, the first day of his visit to the United States to attend the annual general assembly at the United Nations.

He restated that his government does not want an atomic bomb and is only seeking peace and a nuclear-free world. He gave no indication when Iran would resume talks on its nuclear program and said any anti-nuclear sanctions against his government would have no effect on his government's policies.
      
Appearing calm and self-assured, he said he was pleased by the release of American hiker Sarah Shourd.