It is Thursday, August 31 — the date of the UN deadline for Iran to abandon its nuclear program. It might as well be St. Swithun’s Day for all Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cares.

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) — Facing a U.N. Security Council deadline to stop its uranium enrichment activities, Iran left little doubt it will defy the West and continue its nuclear program.

“They should know that the Iranian nation will not yield to pressure and will not let its rights be trampled on,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a crowd Thursday in a televised speech in the northwestern Iranian city of Orumiyeh.

In front of his strongest supporters in one of his provincial power bases, the Iranian leader attacked what he called “intimidation” by the United Nations, which he said was led by the United States.

Ahmadinejad criticized a White House rebuff of his offer for a televised debate with President Bush.

“They say they support dialogue and the free flow of information,” he said. “But when debate was proposed, they avoided and opposed it.”

Iran insists enrichment activities are intended for peaceful purposes, but much of the West, including the United States, believes Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

Full article here. Other perspectives from German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (via Spiegel Online); the National Review; New Straits Times; San Diego Union-Tribune (AP); Forbes; Sydney Morning Herald; and Xinhua.