Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday labeled as "satanic" the United Nations Security Council and the right of veto held by its five permanent members, Iran's Students news agency ISNA reported.

Ahmadinejad, who often rails against the West, said the power of veto held by the United States, China, Britain, France and Russia was aimed at "oppressing and destroying the true nature of mankind and are satanic tools", ISNA said.

His comments came amid escalating tension in the Islamic Republic's long-running dispute with the West over Tehran's nuclear program, with the United States pushing for new UN sanctions against the major oil producer.

Washington and its allies suspect Iran is seeking to develop nuclear bombs. Tehran denies the charge and says its nuclear work is aimed at generating electricity.

A U.S. draft for a fourth round of U.N. sanctions proposes more curbs on Iranian banking, an arms embargo, tougher measures against Iranian shipping, moves against Revolutionary Guards members and a ban on new investments in Iran's energy sector.

Tehran has remained defiant, saying it is prepared to swap its low-level enriched uranium for higher-grade fuel enriched abroad, a move which would help address fears about Iran's enrichment activities, but insists this happen on Iranian soil.

In October Iran agreed in principle to send low-enriched uranium abroad for more processing, but then said the swap should "take place inside its territory and simultaneously".